Monday, February 16, 2015

a potpourri post

The documentary above is excellent for all adoptive parents to see - it does a beautiful job of exposing and examining some of the complicated feelings and nuances in the relationships of the adoption triad.  We encourage you to see this. 

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I have been having trouble writing about Haiti and life here, partly because I've been here so long now that everything is much more "normal" to me than it was in early years. I also think there are some other things in the way of writing often. I hope to find some stories that feel right to share. 

Because of the writers block or whatever it is, I had asked if anyone reading had questions about anything at all. (adoption/Haiti/Missions/MaternalHealth/personal) 

These are the only questions asked and the answers...

Hi, everyone. I am a technical writer and have written about biotech subjects, although never medical procedures. I've often wondered what you use in your classes. Do you use anything printed or any online resources? Would you ever want to? --Nancy on on writing and a podcast

on 11/30/14
Tara, So my question: Do you ever find that your blog, your audience, and the desire to post consistently changes your experience of your own life? In a negative way Or perhaps in a positive way? Carlo on on writing and a podcast

Me again. I'd also like to know how you are doing physically from the chikungunya, if the after effects have lightened up and if anything has worked. Praying for you and everyone affected by it. on on writing and a podcast

In the classes we teach at the Maternity Center we don't use many printed resources. We estimate that about 30 to 40% of the women we serve do not read or write. Most of the class-room-teaching is done verbally and by showing videos and discussing topics. We also do skits a lot to teach.  Anything we share needs to be made culturally palatable, which means that a lot of times resources that are printed for the developed world won't necessarily work here. For example, if a pregnancy book or brochure suggests a woman eat a certain diet and get a certain amount of calories, we know that realistically most of those suggestions for "a healthy baby" are not possible for the clients we work with in Port au Prince.  There are many other examples, but we try to customize the classroom time as much as we can for the needs of the group. Group dynamics change throughout the year based on the personalities in the room and at times we need to teach breastfeeding more and at other times we find that teaching on STDs or other topics seem more important.  As often as possible we have Haitian leaders/nurses teaching, but we also do have American midwives teach too.
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I don't desire to post as consistently as I used to in the first years in Haiti.  I think in the early years I felt so confused by all that I was seeing and experiencing - writing about it was a way that I processed it. 

As I reflect on that early period, I wish I had done better at processing things internally and with Troy and close friends. It has taken so many years to feel a little bit like I have an understanding of Haitian culture and I recognize in hindsight that I probably would have been wiser to share less during those early years.  Also, early on I was pretty shocked to find anyone reading what I wrote and it mattered a lot to me to have readers back then.  Right now I don't have a clue who reads or why they read and I think it allows for a healthier me that writes when I want to and not because I think I must.

When I read archives from the year of the earthquake I feel like that time was an unfiltered and raw time, and some of it feels a bit too vulnerable.  

In recent years (mainly since I started working in Maternal Health and became a Midwife) I honestly don't find many opportunities to write about what is happening.  My fear is that I will disrespect the women we are here working with or that I will write out of turn in some way and while they all have very interesting, difficult, and inspirational lives, it doesn't always seem like great blog fodder to me. 

It is hard to write about the discouraging things AND the victories.  For us, we don't want to ever be super negative or cynical (and we are flawed humans working in a really difficult country so we get in those ruts) and we also don't want to be all self-congratulatory (acting like any sort of hero) when the really good stuff happens. 

It is a weird line to ride and I know from reading other newsletters, blogs, and things that the marketing engines put out that it is very difficult to share one's work in Haiti in a balanced, realistic, non-savior-complex, and open way. The fundraising side of things seems to keep many from being transparent about the failures.   

Truthfully, I love when Troy writes.  He averages two times per year, but in my opinion, he has the most enjoyable stories. :)  

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The short answer is this: most of us that had it last May and June are still regularly having arthritis pain. It comes and goes. There are days where I feel like a healthy 42 year old and there are days that I feel very stiff, sore, and 80ish. I have a place where I broke a bone that hurts me the most. Troy's ankles hurt him often.  I have asked around and most of those that are here in Haiti will say that they think it still messes with them, but given the challenges many face here, a little arthritis isn't going to stop anybody from doing what is important to them.