#DR2017 Countdown… Let’s Stay Connected!

I know… I know… I have not written a post for such a long time, but as I prepare for birth work in the Dominican Republic I realize IT’S TIME TO RECONNECT! I am writing this post to invite you to travel on this journey with me to the Dominican Republic via this blog. I would love to share my experiences with you and receive feedback from you while I am there. You can FOLLOW THIS BLOG by entering your email in the sidebar.

I will only have WiFi during certain parts of the day because of my volunteer schedule. Of course, when I was in South Africa, I hoped to be able to share more and experienced some issues with connection. The Dominican Republic is also prone to power outages, still I will do my best to keep in touch.

So many things have happened in the interim that I shall surely take time to share in due time. Right now, I have my eyes focused toward birth work I will be embarking upon in the Dominican Republic NEXT WEEK! YIKES! I will be supporting Dominican and Haitian mothers during birth in the DR from July 20 – August 3, 2017. You can learn more about the trip, the work I will be doing, and how you can support my work here.

I have been collecting material and financial donations for the past two months and the response has been OVERWHELMING! People have been SO GENEROUS toward this endeavor. You can see a partial list of the 150+ POUNDS OF MATERIAL DONATIONS that have been collected below.

Please consider making a financial donation toward this work! THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

This is the latest #DR2017 donations update. I AM ONLY NINE (9) DAYS AWAY FROM DEPARTURE! WHOO HOO!!! LOOK WHAT YOU DID.png

An Interview with Renowned South African Midwife – Marianne Littlejohn

Marianne Littlejohn is a midwife from Cape Town, South Africa. She is legendary for her commitment toward empowering midwives and improving birth outcomes through workshop trainings about shoulder dystocia – situations where a “baby requires an assisted maneuver in order to allow the baby’s shoulders to pass through the birth canal” – and Helping Babies Breathe.

When I was first researching Black midwives in South Africa, I found Marianne’s article Midwifery and Apartheid in South Africa, was one of the few places I was able to find out information about African women’s roles in childbirth from a historical perspective. I also appreciated that she honored a very notable midwife, Albertina Sizulu, for her contributions, especially toward ending apartheid.

I really enjoyed meeting Marianne and seeing her passion for women, birth, and healthy babies up close and personal. She was gracious and granted me an interview.

Connected through the silence

imageIt is 5:15pm in the Chicago area, but 1:15am here in Johannesburg South, South Africa and I am unable to sleep.

Do you know that it is so quiet here right now that I am aware of my own breathing and heart beat. The windows are even open to let in breeze and I hear nothing… It is so peaceful, which I love. It reminds me of summers at my grandparents’ house in Hale County, Alabama. There was only stillness and a view of every visible star in the night sky against a dark blue backdrop.

Hold on a minute… Okay, so I cannot tell much about the night sky here because there are clouds, but I wonder… Wait… Okay… a barking dog in the distance and car driving somewhere close by… Okay, now it stopped and the silence has returned.

I have learned to have deep regard for silence.

I have a lot of thoughts going around in my but the most dominant thought being in the form of a question: Why does everyone swear by the iPad and claim they are so AWESOME when it is not friendly at all?! I have spent days figuring out what app I need to accomplish certain tasks and other stuff. Ugh!!! What ever happened to being able to download a simple song??? Is there no place to collect downloaded files on this thing?!

I have SO MANY images, footage, thoughts and reflections I desire to share (efficiently) on my blog for my family and friends with whom I desire to share this experience and for whom I am seeking to see new things. I am a bit frustrated that I have not yet been able to share my experience with my family friends and colleges as I desired, but I am figuring it out.

Gene has stated more than once that I am here on assignment – both personal and professional – and I need to be focused on experiencing all I am to experience while I am here… He says not to focus on being able to call because of the time differences. I get that. I doesn’t want me to miss anything because I am focusing on calling all 10 people on my “must stay connected” list. Whatever…

My youngest sent me an email and asked if I could send him more photos… You got it, Omari! First on my list of things to do for tomorrow? Figuring out how to make a slide show with my own music that I have downloaded from a source other than iTunes.

Hmmm… there is thunder in the distance. Wow… and LOUDER now. Perhaps that means we will have more rain soon. That will surely help me get some rest before it is officially time to get my day started again.

NOTE: I figured out that most of my issues are just based in me figuring out what apps to use… getting there… hoping to figure it all out before I return home.