Happy Monday everybody! Today we have a post from the field from one of the newest additions to our Saving Mothers team, Leiann Lopez. Leiann is our new Donors & Members Liason and she recently took a trip down to Guatemala to get a feel for the work Saving Mothers is doing there. I hope you enjoy reading her account of her experience, as well as checking out some of her lovely photos. Without further ado, I give you Leiann’s post from the field!
As a new member of the Saving Mothers team, it was important for me to visit one of our sites. My goal was to learn more about the work Saving Mothers is doing for women, as well as a better understanding of their culture and community. When Guatemala presented itself to me, I jumped at the opportunity!
While I was there, I spent some time in San Juan La Laguna where our midwife/volunteer, Lauren, was staying. I was privileged to accompany her and a comadrona (local birth attendant) to a few prenatal visits. My favorite visit was with Ana, who is one of the older comadronas. The comadronas do not have much for their prenatal visits. Ana simply takes a small amount of oil that she carries with her, puts some on her hands, and massages the mother’s belly. This technique is done to position the baby in the correct position for birth. On this visit, Lauren brought along a Doppler to check the babies’ heart rates and taught Ana how to use it. I must admit, as simple as it was, this experience was incredibly touching and inspiring. It was awesome watching Ana try the Doppler herself!
During the comadrona reunion, after a teaching session, we passed out the birth kits we had assembled during an event at the Museum of Motherhood in New York City. Jessica shared the photos of the event with the comadronas as we passed out the birth kits. I think it is important for them to see and know that people here at home are helping out as well. We were also able to donate a Doppler to the women. While there was only one to give for all of them to share, it’s a step in the right direction! Hopefully one day we will be able to donate a Doppler to all of these lovely ladies.
I was also invited to stay a night with Elena, a comadrona in San Juan La Lugana and a curandera (traditional folk healer). It was an incredible experience. I feel extremely honored that I was able to stay with her and her family. What a warm and loving bunch! I was also lucky enough to go to a curandera curing ceremony for a woman whose baby is in a breech position.
I could go on and on about my recent visit to Guatemala; from spending time with the local people in their homes, to visiting the clinics, attending teaching sessions, exploring communities, and learning their culture. These people have so little, yet they are probably happier than you and I. Everyone I met was so full of love and light. I was welcomed into everyone’s home. In addition, I was invited back and assured I had a family there. I feel unbelievably blessed to have had the opportunity to meet such beautiful people. This was a learning experience that I will never forget. I think my heart tripled in size! I wish I could have spent more time there, but there is always next time, right? I am looking forward to my next visit!