Nearly a year and a half ago, I set out on a mission in search of an organization to become a part of, which would enable Glen and I to volunteer ourselves as birth professionals. I had many motivating factors, but the two most prominent was the desire to learn and the desire to give what I feel I could give the most of- my knowledge, my skill as a midwife, my time, myself.
After researching various organizations and regions in the world, I connected with an international non-profit organization who helped facilitate the training of midwives throughout the world, in many different countries. It was my plan to go serve in Uganda. However, as the details began falling into place, we found that not only with Glen being an obstetrician, but a MALE obstetrician, this would not be an option, as culturally this would be very difficult for the women in this particular area. I contemplated going alone and leaving Glen behind for this trip, but in the end, we found ourselves connected with a new organization- Midwives For Haiti. What was profound for me was that Haiti had the same, if not worse, challenges of Uganda, yet it was not half a world away- Haiti was in the back yard of my own country. Do you know how close Haiti is to us? If not, look at a map. That right there is an hour and a half plan ride from Miami. It is amazing how two places in the same world can be so many worlds apart.
So, in March of 2013- nearly exactly a year ago- Glen and I set out on our first volunteer trip to Haiti. If you have not done so already, I encourage you to go back through this blog and read of our journey in that first trip to Haiti. It will sadden you, anger you, but most importantly, inspire you. It will provide understanding as to why we are now preparing to go back.
Serving as a midwife in Haiti by volunteering with Midwives For Haiti is not entirely altruistic. Can it truly be altruistic if I feel the reward of personal gratification? Can it be considered altruistic if I am emotionally and spiritually rewarded by every single interaction I have with the beauty, strength, and faith that is Haiti? No. I go to Haiti because the country of Haiti is in dire need of trained, skilled birth attendants and I- even with little other resources- can help with that. But, I also feel drawn to Haiti for the lessons in life it provides. Haiti speaks to my heart the words which my brain already knows...we are not guaranteed anything in life, any outcome. We have God and eachother and nothing else. Our faith, mentality, and what we do for ourselves and for each other with how much or how little we have truly matters. That is what I know. That is what is reaffirmed to my heart when I think of Haiti.
So now, the night before we begin our journey to Miami and then onward to Haiti, we are almost all packed up and are so very excited! We have two large duffle bags, one filled with new baby gift packs (freezer bags each filled with a receiving blanket, onesie, hat, pair of socks, and a cloth diaper), and the other duffel bag filled with the medical supplies that we will use while there- delivery kits (made up of protective gowns, gloves, cord clamps, gauze, and bulb suctions), sterile needles, IV start kits, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer, and antihemorrhagic drugs. Glen and I will fit our own personal items in a small carry-on bag. I'll pack a couple pairs of shorts and tanks, a dress for church, a bathing suit, headphones, my iPad, plenty of hair ties, the bare necessities of cosmetics, and a nice cocktail dress, to wear on my 30th birthday while in Miami.
This timing- turning 30, returning to Haiti, the culmination of the past year in mine and Glen's personal and professional life- feels pivotal. I have a lot to say. I hope you take the time to follow on our journey. I look forward to sharing it with you.