A common question I have been asked since I started my training as a midwife is “Why there? Why have you chosen to go so far away and spend your time and effort training in another country.” There has always been a myriad of answers for this question and I usually pick a few of them and try to answer in a non-jumbled manner. It doesn’t always work, and I am sure that sometimes people are left even more confused than when I started. This week however, I added another answer to the myriad that already come to mind.
If you asked me while I was home about how we manage to feed up to sixteen girls who live in our house every week, you probably learned that we have a wonderful Filipina lady who comes several times a week and blesses us by cooking a lot of yummy food. We will call her Ate. What I probably didn’t mention is that Ate’s husband “Kuya” was a driver/guard at the clinic. Kuya still works at the clinic, but he now works ministering to our patients and their families – visiting them at home, praying for them, talking with them. Recently, one of my teammates took one of the patients as a continuity patient – she would see this patient for all her prenatal care and be called in when she was in labour, catch the baby and provide postpartum care and checkups. The patient she was caring for left a prayer request in the prayer box at the clinic. Ate and Kuya recieved the request and decided to visit the patient to speak to her and pray with her. As they talked, they learned more of her situation which included a lack of support for her labour and birth. Ate offered to be the bantay (watcher or caregiver) for the patient during her time at the clinic. I was very blessed to be at the clinic last week when the patient arrived to give birth to her baby girl. Ate arrived to care for the patient as she laboured, rubbing her back, encouraging her to move, to drink, to breathe.
As I later placed a clamp on the glistening umbilical cord and Ate neatly cut it in two, I felt like there was no where else I belonged more. I am sure that there are not very many places in the world where the wonderful woman who blesses me by cooking my dinner, is also a blessing to a young, single mother giving birth to her first child. The experiences that I am privileged to have here, would probably happen no where else. It is truly a wonderful thing to be involved in a place where the relationships are close and the purpose is wholly for the glory of God.