Sunday, April 24, 2016

To be or not to be? To be, of course, but how?

This is a painful thing to write because change is painful and change is inevitable. But change can bring good things, right? Right???

Midwives For Haiti is currently running its annual campaign for the Mobile Clinic Program that serves 600-700 women per month with prenatal care. Other years we had matching funds to help us reach our goal, but the organization that provided those funds has a limit of 3 years on their funding in order to discourage dependency. We understand that but--- what will happen if we cannot support this program after this summer?

It is a painful thing to have to give up something that has been really good and saved a lot of lives because of a lack of funds. Without enough money to run the mobile clinics, the BOD will have to consider the options. We have thought of them before- everything from disbanding the program all together to just reducing the number of villages we visit. There is a lot of fear about any of the choices. Who will get lost in the transitions? Will there be lives lost?

The church I attend meets in a 90+ year old building with a huge sanctuary, incredibly fine woodwork, stain-glass windows, an expansive organ that fills the front of the church, many rooms, and several annexes added through the years that make it a maze to newcomers. Everyone loves walking in those old historic doors knowing that hundreds went before them and everyone feels the responsibility to those who went before to carry on the work of the church.

But the congregation can no longer support the cost of the building, the upkeep, the maintenance, and the cost of heating and cooling such a massive structure. So they are facing some hard choices- namely leasing or renting out a large part of it or selling it and moving elsewhere. A lot of grief is happening and a lot of emotions with fears and hopes are being shared in the "town hall" meetings.

A question in everyone's mind is whether or not the church can remain the same church in a different space, in a different part of town, with different patterns to being together. Spiritual growth and support for it is one thing, but what happens to the projects the church has in the community like the weekend backpacks for the hungry children in the local school, the variety of services for the elderly in the two nearby retirement villages? Can the vision and mission of the church remain the same in a different way? And a big fear- who will get lost in the transitions? Will people we love leave us?

Same questions---If Midwives For Haiti has to stop the Mobile Clinic program can MFH maintain its vision and mission- to increase access to skilled care for pregnant women in Haiti? Can the wonderful midwives who have dedicated their lives to this work be put to work in a different setting? The problem is that anytime you limit a midwife in Haiti to one space you limit how many people she can reach because transportation is a huge obstacle for most women in Haiti. But can we perhaps do a better job  and give more thorough care if we limit the care to a specific place? The vehicle costs are killing us.

What if we just have to bite the bullet and stop the salaries of midwives and drivers?  There will be many family members that will go unfed and their children will have to stop school. And the many women they know need care will go without. Healthcare is just not sustainable work in Haiti.
Or anywhere for that matter. Without insurance a visit to the hospital could bankrupt some of us. In Haiti there is no way most women could pay for the services needed to have thorough prenatal care and a safe delivery. So very few could come up with the money.

And do not tell me they should just not get pregnant. You be the one to issue the decree there should be no more sex. Good luck with that. And even here in the U.S. where birth control is pretty much accessible to everyone- depending on what our elected leaders do next- people still have unwanted pregnancies. And pregnancy can kill women. It does every two minutes in this world. EVERY TWO MINUTES, PEOPLE!!!

It breaks our heart to let Mobile Clinic go. Because we know it saved lives. But there are other lives to be saved. And we cannot save them all. What steps can we take that will bring the most life to the most people with the funds we DO have?

Just like the church at Ginter Park, Midwives For Haiti will jump into this unknown place called the future. But we will do it while holding hands with each other and total faith that we are supposed to DO THIS WORK!! Hold tight!