Sunday, May 07, 2006

Lilongwe calling...


Funny to think how small the world is becoming...yet how deep the divide between the first and third world remains...


I just had a call from a new client. Typical, right?

After her initial email, I had written that perhaps it might be easier for us to chat on the phone. Little did I know that she couldn’t just pick up a phone and call me. No...she had to travel from her “village of mud huts” to the capital of Malawi, and spend the afternoon at the British High Commission waiting for me to wake up on Pacific time, then call from a satellite phone. While she waited, she read this blog. Wild!

We talked about her upcoming birth in Canada and what life is like for the pregnant women in Malawi...of fears...of the poverty and maternal mortality in Malawi...of our own hospitals here in Canada...of hopes and dreams, and memories of Vancouver...

Her own ideas of birth...

My ideas of life in rural Africa...

Both formed by stereotypes, television, myth...

Talking across the thousands of miles, we cleared the myths. I told her that episiotomies are rare here. She talked of the bizarre birthing practices in the villages. She told me about the blood-spattered walls of the local hospital. I told her that she may be able to remain mobile in labour, giving birth standing, squatting...limited only by her baby’s needs. I wonder what her expectations of birth are, what she sees in her mind’s eye, while visions of The Constant Gardener flit through my mind.

As we said goodbye, one memory of another client flashed into my mind. She was from Africa...tall, regal. Sitting on the toilet at the hospital, she looked up at me. “Jacquie, something funny happened.” Then she reached down and touched her baby’s head between her legs...and laughed! Stereotypically easy? The makings of a myth? Definitely not what you’d see on television.

I’m looking forward to meeting this new client. Thanks for the referral, Brooke!

1 comment:

Malawi Moms Project said...

How absolutely wonderful! Have you seen these two blogs about Malawi? This one is a midwife in Malawi: http://babycatching.blogspot.com, and the other is my project, trying to get materials for the mothers, babies and staff at Bottom hospital in Malawi: http://malawiproject.blogspot.com.

I hope she is able to share more about Malawi with you, and I hope you share it! Blessings!