Thursday, February 9, 2012

Climbing the Green and Brown Hill

We took our one pleasure trip of the week today. After morning clinics, Ronel drove a big group in the pink midwives' Jeep to Bassin Zim, a fabulous triple-basin waterfall that comes down out of a cave. As we drove the 45-minutes over rutted back-country Haitian roads, bright green vegetation contrasted with dusty brown eroded hills, banks, and dry grass. It's oh, so dry, but some things always survive, and I'm learning how Haitians value that life that keeps on coming. In a nameless little hamlet on the way, a tiny, tiny puppy wobbled across the road just as the Jeep's huge tires churned around the bend. From the passenger seat (the only one who had on a seat belt) I gasped, and Ronel made a masterful swerve around the “ti-chen”, and he scrambled his way into the dusty grass on the shoulder. Nobody wants to see death that isn't necessary. Whack and eat the rooster: fine. Flatten the puppy: not so much.

Things in Haiti are actually getting better, as slowly as the hills are being climbed. Over my 3 years and 6 visits, I see progress and improvements in Hinche-- painfully slow but steady progress. Each visit, I see more paved roads, electric lines, and small businesses. There is a brand-new huge cultural and civic building ready to open, and now, (thanks to Va Tech, Midwives for Haiti, and Engineers without Borders!) running water at the hospital. More cell phones and motorcycles. Haiti is relentlessly grinding in a positive direction.

The final hill before the Bassin Zim waterfall is a HUGE hill, both up and then down, to the basin. As the Jeep made that climb, people were walking up over the crest, carrying jugs of water from the basin. There was one woman with a jug in each hand, and one on her head, almost at the top. That is the Haiti that can bring you to tears. That's it. They carry their water, and they keep on climbing, moving forward against obstacles that would collapse many other people on the roadside.

A lot of folks have helped Haiti, including Midwives for Haiti, especially in this town of Hinche...but I really credit, most of all, that resilient spirit that hoards and values everything. Haitians are exquisitely polite, and they tread carefully. Life is precious; survival is quite a struggle. We preserve everything we can here; opportunity, education, water, food, and really, life. Even the tiniest ti-chen.


  1. Wendy, I discovered your blog via FB.

    What tremendous courage and strength you exhibit in your continued action of taking an active role in educating the world. Not many take time out of their life and give at such a depth.

    Your knowledge and talents will forever permeate not only currently in the country of Haiti; but far beyond its borders and for countless generations to come.

    I thank you Wendy for taking time from your family, work and life in the "busy USA" to extend a supportive hand to a world in need. By you funneling your energy to the education of Midwifery you are insuring a safe, effective method of delivery. Ultimately you are securing a safe portal for both mother and infant for generations to come.

    Keep pushing forward Wendy as exemplify a supreme example to others; that each of us hold the ability to change to world.

    In Health, Dr. Andrea Marconi
    “Be the Change you want to see in the world” –Ghandi.

  2. I was lucky enough to be with Wendy that week. The trip to Bassin Zim was amazing. It was my first "tourist" trip that I had been on since going to Haiti in 2005. I am usually working too much to go on a visit to a beautiful site. But I realized it is important for volunteers to enjoy Haiti, its beauty and its people, if we really want to help.

    Wendy has not mentioned that she and I did what we do in the States. We worked with the systems in Haiti to try to make a birth center happen. I know it will. As they say, "the devil is in the details", and that is what we worked on. We were amazed at the knowledge and humble competence of our graduate Merlinda, who will staff that birth center. And we know that this birth center will really be a prime example of the quality maternity care seen in the Midwives for Haiti training.
    Jessica Jordan, CNM

  3. Wendy, I found your BLOG while surfing for information on Haiti. If you're interested, our family has published a humorous book on travel as a fund raiser for children in Haiti and we're donating 100% we receive to the Haitian Health Foundation.

    Best Wishes
    John McCabe

  4. I am usually operating too much to go on a trip to a wonderful website.
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