Sunday, February 5, 2012
Beauty and Joy: Mule Trip Ends, Santa Arrives
Sunday Feb 4, 2012
Lakay Nou, Hinche, Haiti
Beauty and Joy:
I write so much of the dust and the difficulties of Haiti that I feel truly obligated to express some of the joys of traveling and working here. My current “hardships” are so small, especially in context of the whole of Haiti, as to be comical: I forgot my mouse, and have only the little mousepad on my laptop, which I don't like as well. I forgot my toothbrush. At Heartline, they gave me a new"Snoopy" childrens' toothbrush, so I can still brush my teeth just fine. The Hinche house, is short on pillows for all the volunteers staying here this week, so I 've stuffed a bunch of scrubs in my pillowcase to make one. Oh, the agony and suffering.
The joys and beauty: Mornings lately are clear, sunny, and a little cool. I enjoy strong Haitian coffee and freshly ground peanut butter amid palm trees' shade and brilliant red and orange blossoms. The mangos trees are heavy with fruit. Saturday breakfast was fresh mango, pineapple, and melon. Our 20-minute flight in a twelve-seater plane landed on the airstrip in the middle of Hinche. As we came in over the town, I could see the new Midwives for Haiti headquarters house beneath us, all 7-bedrooms-4 bathrooms- and 5 porches- worth. It is fabulous: cool and shady, secure in a lovely compound that has (so far) 3 pet chickens. There is space to secure all our medical equipment, housing for staff, volunteers, and our bright pink Jeep.
The Mule journey ends, Santa arrives:
Packing for Haiti is such a headache-- so much stuff, so little room. American Airlines allows only 3 expensive bags, 50 pounds each. So the final departing-pack requires painful prioritizing. Do I stuff sterile gloves in that pocket, or prenatal vitamins, or a new dress for my god-daughter? Packages were mailed to me from all over the US, friends sending special-request items to deliver to friends in Haiti. One bag full of books, equipment, and scrubs for the students, and more stuff for the house that Nadene had asked for: 3-M hooks, washcloths, wall clocks, can openers, full size sheets, staplers, an easel to hold our posters. The easel was tough to pack.
But arrival in Haiti begins the UNpacking, and that is FUN. The “mule” has arrived, and I feel like Santa Claus, unloading and delivering things people have requested, or special gifts they did not expect. My midwife -photographer friend Cheryl was here in the fall, and took tons of beautiful photographs. Now I have a large package of her prints, carefully categorized, to give out to the people whom she photographed. Many folks here have few or no physical photographs of themselves and their families. It's great to see this new classroom in the Lakay Nou house: Since this program began with a few posters and volunteer midwives teaching under some trees, 5 years ago, it is exhilarating to see our class room in this lovely house, with all the school supplies and teaching aids that a good midwifery school in the US would have.(PS: and all this stuff was purchased by MFH donors and friends. Thanks. A lot.)
Oh, today it's tiding of comfort and joy,folks. It's great to be back in Haiti, and good things-- really good things-- are happening. Stay tuned! I've got to tell about Movie Night in Naran, soon!