Tuesday, August 23, 2016

On Challenging Subjects

In June 2016, as was true from January to May and also July until present day, and then also the last several years, I was a discombobulated mess, lacking sharp-memory and organization. 

At one point in June I was communicating with two different women about podcast invitations  - but I *thought* it was all the same person because I wasn't slowing down to read signature lines and pay attention to names.  I figured it out when I sent back some preliminary answers correcting a fact or two in the biography and the lady I sent it to said, "I am not the one that sent this to you. I'm not sure why you sent it to me." 

So anyway, I unknowingly signed up to do two podcasts on the same day in June.  

Speaking to more than my friends or my little tribe of clowns makes me sweat profusely. On that day in June I lost three liters of bodily fluid sweating while talking over the internet to the women hosting the podcasts.

If you ever stop by the Maternity Center and ask me to speak out loud to several people together, you can witness the miraculous evacuation of fluid from my pores for yourself.  

Some people have the gift of public speaking and others have the gift of public sweating.  I excel at the latter. At least my gift is super visible. I mean really, who wants hidden talents? <gah>

I have waited a couple months to share any links to the podcast(s) because I feel awkward about it. (Sweaty) Or maybe I feel awkward about me. I don't know. Probably both.

The introduction to the one I am linking you to is 25 minutes -- I struggled to listen to the entire intro because the generous hosts only say nice thing -- and they say them for far too long without any balance.  It is way over the top kind. They did not mention that I am a snappy witch to my husband sometimes and super short tempered with my kids some days and irrational and hormonal and depressed at times.  It is just all rainbows and ponies about me and that's not the full me.  

That said, if you are a "podcast person" (and I say it that way because I have not yet become a podcast person but I am going to try when I start running again - I just have to start running again first - ahem!) and you want to listen, I'd be much happier if you skipped the intro and started further into the podcast.

In the second 1/2 we talked a lot about the more challenging topics.  We discussed Orphanage Tourism and the Short Term Missions and other topics that make us all break out in hives. 

Their website lists these topics of discussion:

... discussed on the podcast:
  • A discussion of self worth: What stories do we tell ourselves about what we are and are not capable of? How do guilt and shame inform what's possible in the future?
  • The road to healing — counseling, speaking your truth, being in control of your own narrative
  • The complexity of adoption and its root in loss
  • What does it take to move a family to a developing nation? A discussion of language, community, and living through the unexpected (not to mention an earthquake!)
  • The act of writing as therapy, the responsibility of sharing the story of others, and the privilege of first-person reporting
  • The work of Heartline Ministries and the emphasis on orphan prevention and keeping first-families in tact through empowerment and education
  • The role of deep and trusting relationships during labor and delivery to promote safe birth. 
  • Orphanage tourism and the complex nature of compassion. Who benefits? Who is harmed?

If you want to listen, you can click here  - but I warn you it's long so maybe just listen to some part of it.  Or don't. That's cool too.

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Today a group stopped by the Maternity Center for a tour (we will happily give tours of the MC - just let us know and we will schedule one for you). 

Toward the end of the time together they asked very kindly if they could come volunteer.  I grabbed some deodorant, applied it quickly from head to toe and said, "No, not as a general rule, you cannot. But let me explain why." 

Disappointing folks that want to come help/volunteer is really hard.  It seems rude or unwelcoming. The thing is, it is neither of those things.  

The truth is, the Maternity Center must run 24/7 365 (because babies don't do anything at the time you want them to do the things) and in order to do that we have an amazing staff that are passionate about their work and they studied, trained, and worked hard to arrive at this place in life where they are doing this work.  

For some of the staff, sacrifices have been made in order to work full time at the Maternity Center. For some staff members, they chose a job that pays a little less than a bigger name non-profit could pay them because they believed in the core mission and values of the work.  For others on staff, they moved far from family to come learn a new language and culture in order to be the most effective care provider they could be.  

As you can imagine, it would be a little bit odd or disrespectful for us to tell one of the nurses or midwives, "Please hang back today because we want to real quick-like teach someone that is here for a few days how to do your job and let them do it." Can you imagine at your workplace if your boss started telling you to sit aside because he had someone else (not necessarily specially trained) to do your job?  Can you imagine at your home as a homemaker if a new volunteer came to help every couple days and you had to keep explaining where things are and all the systems and ways that you run your home to someone that couldn't stay long enough to be proficient?  The other important angle is the language piece. The volunteer that comes to your house cannot help you with your kids at your home unless you translate for them.  

The answer to "Can we help?" is "No thank-you", not because anyone is a rude jerk or is selfish, it just is not very practical.

The idea of "helping" and the reality of being helpful are not very synchronized in these cases. 

It really is complicated and nuanced.  

At Heartline we want to honor the full time employees that bust their butts and give their all and we think it honors them most to let them do their jobs and do them well. 

Nothing elevates a person like satisfaction in a job well done.  

Do we want to show you the work happening with Moms and Babies at Heartline in Port au Prince? Heck yes. Please schedule and then stop by and tour. We'll welcome you!