Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Pressure Cooker: Which are Thicker: the Mosquitos or the Stars?
Food cooks faster when you cook it under pressure. I’m feeling about cooked myself, now, from the heat, humidity, combined with pressure of what I hope or need to accomplish vs.the obstacle-ridden chain of events that can make up a day in Haiti. We can make plans, but they will change daily, if not hourly.
Many joys in the past days, and many frustrations and griefs. Hugging my son Stephen at the airstrip this morning was a big one. It’s so great that he’s willing and able to share even a a part of this work, and experience this piece of global reality, and my heart. Frustration over the lack of internet: it’s broken at our host building, and not one cyber café open in the whole town due to the Feast Day. So blog posts go out very intermittently as the opportunity arises. This afternoon, a long, dusty, rugged ride in the back of Ronel’s truck to the Medical Missionaries clinic in Tomassique, where one of our star graduates, Merlinda, is working. Great scenery! Great to see her and her clinic. She and a partner midwife attend 30-40 births a month out there, using 3 labor beds all in one room, and a table and a sink at the end of the room, behind a screen. That was the joy….the more difficult part of the scenery is the many, many people on the road, who live in these rugged hills, scraping out the meagerest living on bare agriculture and random pieces of work they can find. As we rounded one bend in a massively rutted road, I looked up the big wooded bank above the road, and saw a man at a treadle sewing machine, in the front yard of a little wooden Haitian house. What’s he sewing up there? How far will he walk, or ride a donkey or a bike, to get some food or some money for it?
In Merlinda’s clinic, she had a lady who she had attended 2 hours prior to our arrival. It had been a long labor but all was well. The woman, Jacline, had had one prenatal visit, and had traveled 2 hours to get there and have safe midwifery care for her baby’s birth. I gave her a gift pack of onesies and diapers. I want to give her and her baby a better life, but this is for now, the best we can do.
Long after dark, we got “home” to the orphanage. I broke the shower nozzle when I took a shower. I’m wracked with painful guilt over breaking anything in Haiti—it’s so hard to fix! So much other stuff is broken. It’s not easy to live a day here, even when everything works. I prepared for tomorrow’s plan, only to get a cell phone call at 9 pm that scrambled the day and week….again. The mobile clinic truck is going out on Friday and I need to take our 2 newly-hired gradutes and go help them get oriented. So other planned activites have to be fit in some other day, but we’re running out of days…and oh yes, we’re trying to take film while we do all this. I’m worried I can’t fit it all in. I’m worried I’ll forget things I promised to do, or that I will drop the ball on these peole we are trying to help. I’m afraid to let them down. These are real people with real lives, and they try so hard, and they count on us to help them. It’s hot, the mosquitos are thick tonight, the humidity is high, and the pressure is on. I’ve got to get in my mosquito net before I’m eaten alive! But I look up from my porch, and, because there is no municipal electricity, there’s no light pollution, and the stars are spectacularly thick and brilliant. It’s the glass-half-empty-or-half-full riddle of Haiti: Which are thicker? The mosquitos or the stars?