The Surprise Fete-
Yesterday around 25 graduates of Midwives For Haiti held a "fete" for me. This was supposed to be a surprise party but I got suspicious when a midwife who works in Port-au-Prince showed up dressed to the nines with no apparent agenda. I changed out of my scrubs into a blouse and skirt because clearly this was not going to be a casual event. Gradually between 3 and 4 pm, more and more midwives arrived and started filling the table downstairs with huge and colorful plates of food. Some of these midwives I see only once or twice a year at continuing education sessions so it was quite exciting to see them so pretty in their party dresses and some of them brought their small children along.
After they rearranged the classroom so that the tables were in a large square, covered with tablecloths, and decked out with red napkins and bouquets of flowers, they invited me and the other volunteers to "chita" (sit down) in places of honor. Val Josette from class 3 was the mistress of ceremonies. There was singing- "How Great Thou Art", solos- some with improvised words to give gratitude to Midwives For Haiti, and speeches. Volunteers Cara Osborne, Zelda Collett-Paule, and Sarah Taylor were there to enjoy the music, the party, and food.
There were gifts for me and Carrie and Steve. Carrie has been such a wonderful addition to our team at Hinche. The students and graduates know they can count on her to be an advocate for them, to problem- solve with them, to be a laison between here and the administration in the States. And they love that she has learned so much Creole so quickly.
I gave a short history of how Midwives For Haiti came to Hinche, the role my faith has played in the beginning and continuing work of Haiti and the obstacles we have overcome. I know they are some of the hardest working people in the world. Who in the U.S. works 8-10 hours a day in intense heat delivering loving care to mothers in clinics, in makeshift clinics under trees, in understaffed crowded hospitals and birth centers?
They recognized the sacrifices of volunteers, the hard work of our drivers and translators. They know it takes a team effort to make the supplies keep coming, the mobile clinic keep rolling, the patients delivered safely, the education of new midwives to go on for 6 and 1/2 years.
I was blessed by this "fete", the obvious care they had taken to prepare it, the love they brought to me and the rest of the MFH staff. I am so blessed to be a part of this thing that is bigger than me, bigger than each of us, and blesses both Haitians and volunteers each year.