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On My Most Recent Trip to Haiti

 

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On my most recent trip to Haiti (my 25th, I think) to visit the MN birthing center, I started with the usual optimism – a long list of tasks I hoped to complete, and the determination to accomplish them. What followed was the reality of Haiti – two days without any internet (critical to my 1st and 2nd priorities), followed closely by what project managers like to call ‘scope creep’, but in reality would be called ‘scope leap’ in Haiti. How I keep my sanity is a question I often encounter at home. The answer is perspective. I can go back to all the comforts of home on the day (well. sometimes 2 days) of my choice. The people am here to serve, who never seem to get frustrated or discouraged, do not have that option. The medical records server I was here to replace that took 2 1/2 days to implement on the MN LAN, had been inaccessible to the MN staff for over 3 months.

Once following a series of hurricanes, MN had no power or water for 3 months. They never missed a beat, and carried on with candles, kerosene lamps, and truck headlights when a baby decided to be born at night. Most of this time, during the rainy season, the ceiling leaked in every room of the center. The spirit of our midwives and all of the support staff never flagged.

Another time, for 10 days our group was prevented from getting outside of Les Cayes, or occasionally even around in Les Cayes, by daily torrential rains. We did not accomplish most of what we had intended, and a few were quite disgruntled and disillusioned by the experience. Meanwhile, our Haitian partners carried on – just another day, every day. And so it goes, every day; and so I will be back again in two weeks, with a long list and high hopes!

Jim Grant, Executive Director
Global Birthing Home Foundation

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