Friday, March 27, 2009

´The week of Birth

Well, what a week. So much birth going on. These are bananas in our backyard, which will surely be stolen before we can eat them. But they are beautiful nontheless. You can see the little baby bananas in front with flowers on the bottoms. Before I go into the long and horrific stories of births, I must tell about korys attemps at making vegetarian jerkey. This was his first mostly successfull attempt, which is TVP ground up with spices and fruit and then dried in ou r solar dryer. It turned out a little bit odd flavored and we decided it had to be thicker in order gain that chewey texture that is jerkeys star quality. We will try again.
But it was because kory forgot to bring in the dryer monday night, that he went out back at about 10 pm and saw our neighbors in their backyard with flashlights. I went out to look and asked if every thing was ok, and they said it was not. I could see they were dragging a girl accross the ditch. I grabbed my flashlight and ran to help. The minute I saw her it was obvious she was pregnant and was unconcious. W dragged her across the black water ditch and up the rock cliff that comprises our neighbors back yard. When we layed her in house, the midwife from across the street examined her baby and told me to feel it. Strangly (for nicaragua) the crappy old toyota landcruiser ambulance we have was out front waiting with a stretcher. Probably due to the fact that we have two brigadistas (community health workers) and two MINSA employees for neighbors. They rushed her away. Turns out was the 13 year old sister Silvia, our neighber. Silvia didnt know what to do and we told her she had to go to the center, but she was worried about leaving her baby in case he needed to nurse. We left the baby and kory and I walked with her the three dark blocks to the health center. On the way she told me that she wasnt pregnant, that they had been to the health center two days earlier and had a negative urine test and they had told her to get an ultrasound. Now Silvia and her husband and quite young themselves and this girl had come from a community really far away. So maybe they didnt recognize how obvious it was, or recognized that she had probably been in labor for a while, or maybe they were in denial. I believed her about not being pregnant until we got the centro and she was inside the labor and delivery room screeming her guts out. Silvia finally went in. She screamed like I have never heard a Nica scream. Crazy. She was kicking and fighting too. It took all of the 4 doctors that were sleeping there that night, plus the midwife, plus the sister and nurse or two to make the birth happen. but we could tell she was giving birth. At one point we heard a loud slap and ¨Get a hold of yourself!¨Which sort of made us laugh in disbelief.. but hey its nicaragua. When she finally had the baby, there was no crying and we asumed that it had been born dead. There was blood every where and all down her legs. Donaldo came with silvias baby and we waited with all of neighbors. Silvia came out after a while and said that her sister was still unable to remember who she was, and she thought the baby was dead because they had been trying to revive it. They loaded the girl onto the floor of dirty ambulance, which luckily had just returned from matagalpa an hour earlier. They loaded a doctor bag masking the baby and waited for a little while while the guy with a really messed up and bloody leg, got into the back too, and they made the 2 hour horribly bumpy drive to the hospital in Matagalpa.
It was really a shocker to think that we almost had a maternal death right in our back yard. The very thing we are hear to prevent. Luckily, they are both living and doing better, but it shocked me into working harder. We had put almost all of our charlas on hold because of the Big charlas project we are working on and I realized that I had to keep working hard. So the next day I gave a charla to the 14 girls at the casa materna, I will start doing this almost full time again. I had only been going like once a week. But Education is soooo important. Knowlege is power.
Then last night kory and I had gone for a evening walk to the health center to find a professional to appear on our radio show and there was one of the girls from the Casa Materna, all alone and in labor. Her name is Laydi, and this is a picture of her I took posing for our charla project. She is supposed to be thinking about missing taking her birth control one day, but I couldnt get her to frown. Its difficult to have nica models.
Anyway. She said yes, so I stayed. It was the first time I would see a live birth and get the chance to help. I felt really useless after the other night and told kory that maybe I should go back to school in Nursing. BUt I managed to make myself usefull with all those CNA skills. I rubbed her back and brought her water and explained things the doctores didnt. She was only in labor about 4 hours. AT first the pain was minimal, and then it got worse and worse. The doctor broke her water and then she was in reall pain. she never really screamed until they did an episiotomy, but she said ¨Aye, aye, I cant stand it, I cant stand it!¨a whole bunch. She is 17 years old for the record and this was her first baby. At this point, the electricity went out and kory came in with flashlights and we were shining the way for the doctor. Luckily they came on about 20 minutes later, but wow, sooo nica! Kory left and two more docs came in. They were practilly kneeling on her shoving the baby out. The head looked very odd shaped.. not round, until it popped out. It was super crazy to see this whole process and especially in nicaragua. They took the baby away without every showing her or saying good job. We caught the placenta in a plastic sack for her to take home and bury and the doctor sewed her up.When she got up to go shower, I asked her if she wanted to see the baby, since everyone else had disappeared, we went and looked at her. So cute. After she showered she brought baby clothes and we dressed.. very awkwardly this little creature. No nurse helped or said anything to her, and you must know that im no expert, only in dressing old people, but this helped better than nothing. Kory and I left and went home to eat dinner and I found myself looking at the inside of a cantalope very differently.

Here I am helping dig a trench for the water to flow. They are puting sidewalks on our street and the water runs all over and makes horrible mud that nobody can walk though. I got sick of waiting for somebody to something and so I complained that we should dig a little ditch and this guy (who is one of the cement laborers) said he would do it. But to get him moving me and Jaquelin went out and started. Nothing like making a machisto man feel inadaquit like having two women a job. He got right on it! Well. Thats enough for now.

Monday, March 23, 2009


So I had saint pattys day marked on my calander and we even talked about it in ¨Family Counsil¨ two days before, ... and then we forgot. I realized two days later and was pretty sad. BUT we have had our decorations up (thanks to mom) for the whole month. I just miss this holiday in Utah because it means spring is coming and it feels sooooooo incredible. Here. Just another day. Oh well. We skipped over it because we had a meeting with our Charlas group in which we presented our design for the first time. Besides that we didnt have the right cord for between our mac and their projector, and that the computer rejected reading the file half way through the second one and we were very late getting back to our site.. all went well. We felt very overwhelmed when we left, but feel better now.

We have photographing women in the Casa Materna doing things that we will put on on our posters and kory draws them. So this is a picture of a women getting a prenatal check in the casa materna from a doctor from the health center. We didnt use this image exactly but its cute. I (heather) had to pose for the reference photos that we OBVIOUSLY couldnt ask a pregnant women to do like, seizures on the floor, constipation (that one is really funny), carrying heavy loads, sore breasts, and bathing. It has been a good time. But your just going to have to imagine me doing these things... or maybe we will put the drawing .. they are pretty funny. We had to make me look like a nica of course.
The other day I looked out the window to see Don Enecifero (98 years old) in the tree hacking down branches with his machete. When I went out to watch him, he made the this funnies laugh. He is such a funny guy. I will really miss him!
Our friends matt and jess visited us from Madriz. We decided to go the Natural reserve PeƱas Blancas which is this huge beautiful mountain. They wanted to charge us 20 dollers EACH for a guide to take us up the mountain, so we had to decline, but its super beautiful, maybe we will save our money and do it some other time.
We had a little picnic while waiting for a bus to stop.This is a coffee field behind us.
Rachel sent us some Clifford the Big Red Dog books and I wanted to let her know that our neighbor kids LOVE to read them! This is two of them reading them for the second time in front of our house. The first time there was 5 kids fighting over them. I just wanted to say thanks to all of you at home that support our projects and that send stuff for the people here. It is really cool. My mom especially puts a great effort into this. We were making a list of things we needed for our church, thinking we would have the missionaries buy it in managua for us if possible, and my mom called RIGHT THEN and said she was mailing a package for us. What did she send you ask? Only every single thing we had on the list! We will be sure to let people know that it wasnt us who bought these things or donated them. We will be writing your names in the books when we give them away. I just wanted to let you all know that you are making a difference. We love you very much! Love heather (and kory in spirit who is designing right this moment).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Im afraid we´ve lost some fans....

Wow, its been like a month and a half since we last blogged. I think this has hurt our fan base. Seriously. We haven´t written because we haven´t been doing much since we got back from our trip. Let me correct that, we have been working our butts off, but just have been in the house a lot designing a project. We are very excited for the project. We are writing a curriculum of charlas to be taught in every casa materna in Nicaragua and then we are drawing them up into a complete package that will be printed on a plastic banner and sent to every single CM. We will also be doing training for all the CMs when they get printed. So we have finished only one so far, which is Reproductive Organs, and we are almost done with the second which is Pregnancy. Kory is drawing all day long because we have to make these charlas usable for people who cannot read. We have 11 to do in total and so we are going to be in the house a lot. I, heather, feel like such a flippin housewife. My job is to write the charla and decide what information is in it, but that takes a lot less time then drawing every single little thing. So I clean and cook a lot these days as well as other stuff, but it feels awful housewifey. .... We both prefer to be out and about but we are really excited for this project. We are also going to contact people in other central american countries who might be interested in doing the same for their Casas Maternas. Who knows.....
Anyway. We have also been busy with our church here as the missionaries have been coming and we are now 22 members. Here is a picture of our last meeting. It is really cool to be part of and we are very thankful for the opportunity to be living here.
We had the opportunity to give a charla on medicinal plants to the new group coming in. The problem is we didn´t know that much about them, so they sent us to a training up north at a NGO who works with medicinal and tradicional plants. We made ginger cough syrup, eucolyptus tea, chamomile soap, and this is called a cataplasma, which is the boiled left overs from making tea. You make it into a little pancake that you put on your head if you have a headache or other part of the body. She surprised me by putting it on my head before I knew what was happening. I had the camera and shot this. It was actually extremly delightful and made me sleepy. Now this saturday we will be doing this training for all the new health volunteers in managua.

Anyway. on another note. Things have changed here for us. We no longer feel like we NEED anything, we feel very content and feel like we belong here. Its funny how one goes in stages. In november when we went home, we were feeling a lot of hate and frustration. Now we feel pretty much like we belong here and that our time is really short and we want to make the best use of it. We are thinking about what it will be like for us to come home. Even though we are not doing anything about it of course. Anyway. Having said that. We feel that everyone else is quite used to us being away too and thus have not sent us any chocolate lately. Our christmas stores are wearing down and we have only a few hershey kisses left. So if you have it in your hearts to send us some easter chocolate. We would be very grateful. We will also try to be better about blogging. Sorry. We love you all! Love heather and kory