Sunday, February 10, 2008

Now that I got started...

OK, this blogging thing seems to work, though I am quite disappointed that I can not seem to change anything once it is out there! And the font options disappeared as well... well, I can live with that I suppose.
Anyway, the idea is to provide complete women's health care for women in this area... a mostly rural place with a population of a bout 30,500 people, 5,000 of them being women in reproductive age.
I was not sure in the beginning, where to put the project, actually I thought there were places around Antigua Guatemala that needed it more, but after researching it turned out that Ciudad Vieja is the most underserved place around here. How convenient. I happen to live here!

The day after tomorrow the women from PPFA will come here to elaborate the project details with me. Since I have done my homework, I hope it will not be too tedious and there will be time to take them to the municipality. I have shown up there regularly lately and I know that they are happy to hear that somebody wants to attend births right here in town . there is nobody else doing that! Which means that all babies born in Antigua will be registered there and are Antigua citizens until they turn 18. Though they use Ciudad Vieja services from day two after their birth.

And I can take the PPFA women to the future clinic.
Yeah, I found THE place! It is on the main road, a corner house with three rooms facing the road. that takes care of most of the publicity already. It has a total of 6 rooms, one for reception, an office, a consultation room ( those are the three front rooms), then two birth rooms, a kitchen, and in another patio there are two more rooms and another big bathroom, this part of the house faces the quiet street around the corner, my interns can live there. I'll take some pictures soon, so everybody will want to come and stay here!

What scares me so far: the reaction of the woman in charge of the health committee at the municipality. She sees me as a threat, since she wants to equip the Centro de Salud with a delivery room. I am not worried, the public services have such a bad reputation that you have to be really desperate in order to seek care there. but this woman can make trouble for us, so I rather be on her good side. I just don't know how!

The whole paperwork in order to get legal makes me shiver... I wonder if I could just leave that to Gabi ;)

I used to write a diary from age 12 to age 22...when I had my first baby. Babies make you stop everything else. My diaries used to contain stories of broken hearts, wild nights, tumultuous friendships etc.
Now I am starting to get acquainted with this new tool for writing a diary. I am not going to limit it to just the professional part of my life, just as I can not separate the two in ...real life, if you will. My private life happens 500 meters from where this project is going to take on a life of its own, I hope. Most of the people who are involved in it are also involved in my life. I hope I find a balance - here as well as in reality- that makes reading this both interesting and informative.

How it all started...the short version

Well, it looks as if I will be blogging, just like the rest of the world. Quite ironic, since I chose my profession believing that I would be as removed as possible from technology, as a homebirth midwife at first, then as a midwife at my own birth center in Guatemala.
but for this project about to start, I believe it is important to get out there, to the people who are supporting it and need to know what's going on, for the people who are interested in doing an internship with us and need to know what it's like, and also for me, so I can monitor what we are doing, our problems and the solutions we decide to try, the feedback we will hopefully get from the community.
Now, what is this project? No. Not yet. First a little about what I've been doing the last 15 years, since this is vital for what is happening now. After returning from MATERNIDAD LA LUZ ( in 1995), the most incredible place to study midwifery, I started to attend homebirths in Antigua Guatemala, where I live. Soon after, with a partner, we started IXMUCANE, a birthcenter. After two years I decided to split and take over a waterbirth center in Guatemala city. The owner was going back to the States and I had a hard time with my partner in IXMUCANE, so I took over.
So since 2,000 I have been attending births in the CENTRO DE PARTO NATURAL, in Guatemala City. We do on average 4 births a month, the clientele is half Guatemalan , half foreigners. Besides births we do comprehensive prenatal, postpartum and Gyn care, mostly using alternative therapies and herbs. I have been taking interns from all over the world and since last May I have a steady assistant, Gabi. Now I finally get to sleep once in awhile!
To my great surprise, last August I got an offer from PPFA to start a project for low income women in a place I could pick and to my specifications.
This is the project about to start: a complete women's health center for low income women in Ciudad Vieja, Sacatepequez.