It is March 8, 2013, International Women's Day. Here in Hinche we have a house full of women.
There are the cooks, Diunny and Salomon, who sing while they work, Elliot the housekeeper whose service and smile encourage us everyday, and Monique who does piles of laundry 2-3 days each week by hand in large plastic basins. I think these women represent what most women in the world are doing each day- trying to provide food and clothing and a clean home for their family. Sadly, it means that the one thing that could bring women empowerment and a way out of poverty for their families- an education-is not available to most women in the world. (Thanks to a midwife donor, at least the 14 year old who babysits for the cook is going to school for the first year of her life and glows when she talks about it.)
Right now I can hear the students from Leogane down in the classroom discussing malnutrition and sources of good food for pregnant women. They watched 2 videos on Nutrition this morning thanks to our projector and a donated laptop. There are two teachers here who have a lot of experience and education behind them who have decided that training other midwives for Haiti is the work they most want to do.
This new class of students are here because we had no clinical site in Leogane, which would have been closer to their homes. Since Monday night they have been sleeping on mattresses on the floor and sharing a bathroom here at headquarters until they can find a place to rent together in Hinche. I am amazed how far they have traveled, how many comforts they have given up, how they are willing to be away from family in order to reach this dream of being a midwife.
It is being around these women that gives me encouragement to continue this work when it all seems so hard. They believe in Midwives For Haiti and its mission passionately and are so proud to be students or graduates of the program. So when I hear another impossible request from the medical director of the hospital, wonder how the budget will get us through the year, and feel exhausted from the constant decisions and responsibilities, I just need to be with them, to hear them sing, to hear them thank Jesus for Midwives For Haiti, and I feel so blessed to know them and to be here.
This afternoon the 16 Hinche students will share case studies from their clinical experiences this past week. The Leogane group will listen in and ask questions. Then for the first time all 24 students will end the week together singing, united in their mission to bring health and life to mothers and babies in Haiti. On this International Women's Day, they know they can change the world.