Monday, August 1, 2011

What do you do in Haiti when it rains?

You go out and wash your hair, of course!
Have we really been here only a few days? So much has happened. We weathered last night’s thunder and lightning storm, only to find that once it starts raining cats and dogs in Hinche, the kids start having a ball. The soccer field and baskeball courts were just as active, except that the mud soccer players now had to share the field with the kids shampooing their hair and others running around bare naked in the rain. The rainstorm occurred just around dusk, light waning, only to be lit up by the dramatic lightning overhead. Boys in the church pavillion were sliding on their bare butts as if the floor was a Slip ‘N Slide. Naked as jaybirds, they pushed off and slid sitting up, over the polished stone floor. This was livin’! Having a ball Haiti-style in the middle of hurricane season. The heaviness of the rain beckoned us to come and play, to experience nature in one of its magical incarnations. Before long, I found myself standing in the middle of the soccer field, rain drenching my clothes and hair. Dina joined me and we worked our way over the flooded field to the pavilion and watched the 20 or so boys, sliding on their bottoms. This was pure joy for them, experiencing no self-consciousness at all that they hadn’t a stitch of clothing on their bodies.
Today we went by jeep to the mobile clinic near a small church amid farming land about an hour by dirt road from Hinche. I say “an hour by dirt road” because it was probably only about 20 miles out. We only saw about 11 women, which is light for MFH, but it was great to be unhurried and practice my midwifery Creole live.
On our way out to the mobile clinic, we picked up Filomen and Marie Ange at the hospital. I got my first peek at Unicef’s cholera tents set up within the walls of the St. Therese hospital. I am sure I will learn more about that later, but early recon tells us that at first, the tents were full, then, as the epidemic came under more control, people started to clear out. There is a sense that there has been a second wave of outbreaks, perhaps even from poor sanitation at these tents.
I met Filomen and Marie Ange on our first trip here. When we saw them, we exchanged exclamations and hugs, so glad to see each other again. Not two minutes down the road did Filomen  start singing our Haiti song that Dina made up last year. We joined in, emphatically, laughing and singing, remembering the words together and knowing that we were all immediately on the same page. We picked up Magdala to another round of hugs and rejoicing, blabbering away in Creole and feeling the effect of a little more language under my belt.
I am so happy to be here, with the midwives again. I know that they are working hard to continue the vision of midwifery in the Central plateau. The mobile clinic has expanded to 16 sights every month, an incredible feat.
Courtney spent the whole day at the Azile. Susan and I went back to the Midwives for Haiti house in Hinche in the afternoon to organize the stock room and bring in the supplies that we brought from the US. We drank beer and ate our stew and dumplings, content with a very full day of work in Haiti. Each day represents a lifetime of learning and appreciation for the people of Haiti—their joys, their suffering, their challenges, their successes.
Ayiti, m’kontan we ou anko! Haiti, I’m happy to see you again.

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