“Jessica! Come here! A woman is about to give birth! Do you want to help?” yells Sita, one of our midwives who is in the “delivery room” at our maternity.
No men are in the room. Just an older woman (who appears to be the mom woman), the woman giving birth and Sita. She is lying on a table type bed that is cushioned and covered in vinyl. This is her 3rd baby. No medications are used to numb the pain. Lying next to her is another woman, who is only 19. This is her first child and no family or friends are in the room with her. I am trying to take it all in. I am almost tempted to go over and hold this woman’s hand. There really isn’t much sound in the room except for the small cries that come from the women. They hardly shed any tears. I comment on this to Sita, saying the women are so strong here. The 19 year old gives birth first, a girl. And then about 15 minutes later the other woman gives birth to a boy. It is messy, a bit graphic, but beautiful. I do not even know these women but I almost want to start crying. Here are two new human beings! Sita then instructs me to put on some gloves and I weigh and measure these brand new babies.
This was one of my favorite days at site. A lot of the time I am just observing at the maternity or at the clinic and trying to ask questions. But this day I got to see a birth for the first time! And back to back!
I’ve now been at my new village for about five weeks now. Slowly people are trickling back into town as the harvest is finishing up. The other day I just took my bike out and rode around the village. So many fields and gardens. I posted some photos on Facebook if you want to get an idea of what it looks like. I also biked down to the Côte d’Ivoire border with my friend Yaya. Our village is only about 10K away. As soon as you get to the border, the roads instantly change. I though Burkina’s roads were better than Mali, but Côte d’Ivoire beats them both. Also, there is electricity lines that run down there and through our village, but our village does not have electricity. Hmm. The border control area I found out is actually powered by a generator. They have a couple TVs down there and I was able to watch some Spanish soccer games. However, we missed like half the game the other night because someone kept tripping the generator. Third world problems. Been meaning to make a list of these, but not sure if it would offend anyone haha. Cannot wait to follow the CAN tournament! I’ll be cheering for Mali and Burkina Faso, but I think you know where my true allegiance lies J
This past Wednesday I also had the chance to go to one of our satellite villages for vaccinations. The CSPS schedules these throughout the month where they go to the villages our clinic is responsible for (aire sanitaire), but are kind of far from the clinic. In the future, I’m hoping to do outreach to these other villages through sensibilizations (skits/discussions on health topics, etc) and other activities. On verra! We didn’t have too many enfants come for vaccinations so it gave me time to get chat with the nurse leading the vaccination outing. Her name is Brigette, she is 31 and one of my neighbors. She is so easy to talk to and I think quickly becoming one of my favorite nurses at the CSPS. At one point the conversation turned to relationships because I was asking about her boyfriend who works at the CMA in a neighboring town. (CMA = Centre Médical avec Antenne Chirurgicale. A step up from the CSPS because they can do some surgical things). They met during nursing school and have plans to get married next year. Kind of more of a “western” relationship as she is 31, he’s 33 and they are dating before getting married. Like I mentioned before, the nurses are usually from bigger cities and not from the village. In village, relationships are a bit different, with marriage usually much earlier in life, sometimes at age 16. That is a topic for another day though. She asked if I had a boyfriend and I said no. She then asked if I wanted her to find one for me. I laughed. I think at one point I said okay, sure, whatever, so we will see what happens haha
Slowly I’m starting to find my niche in village. So thankful for such a welcoming community! However, I still have my share of ups and downs, but such is life. Continue to pray for peace in the region and for wisdom of the leaders to do what is best for the people of their respective countries.
I will end with some remerciements. A big THANK YOU to my mom for the amazing care package! You are the best! It is going to be hard to ration out all this great food. Thank you to my fellow PCVs, here in Burkina Faso and in other countries, for always knowing how to keep it laid back, to have a good time and to keep things in perspective. I love how close we are growing. Thank you to Mosaic for posting podcasts each week and providing encouragement and inspiration. Thank you for the continued support and love of family and friends back home. I do not think I’ll ever be able to express how much you all mean to me. Even if we don’t talk every day, or every week or even every month, know that I miss you so much. You are the fuel that continues to keep me pushing forward, developing a better story. And thank you for your unfailing love God and all these wonderful people you have weaved into my life. You are the reason I am here.