Our 10th Anniversary trip to Guatemala was a great success!! All of our team members had taught with our organization sometime during the last 10 years. They all were excited to return to our very gracious host country!
We changed locations for our trip this year and stayed near Antigua, Guatemala. Not only were we able to teach at our new location, Las Gravileas, but also we were able to sleep and eat there which helped with our transportation arrangements. I can’t say enough about the meals that we ate… they were phenomenal!
Our main program, Helping Babies Breathe, continues to be our main focus during the two-day training of the midwives. We love hearing the midwives’ stories about their experiences. Their eagerness to learn how to resuscitate an infant who is not breathing at birth is impressive. They practice over and over again, eventually becoming more familiar with the equipment that they need to use to put this training in practice. In one instance, one of our long term translators initiated a scenario in which the midwife had to continue giving resuscitation while the infant was being transported to a car to take the baby to the hospital. How ingenious, but how very true…ambulances arriving within minutes is a very rare possibility. It is very difficult to say goodbye to the midwives on their last day as new friendships and bonds have developed over the hours we have spent together with them. We taught 52 midwives this year over the course of four days.
We continue to have all of our classes translated into Spanish and to one of the indigenous languages, Kaqchikel. When we go into our small practice groups of four to six midwives, we have a Spanish translator for each instructor at that table. Often by the end of the first day, our translators learn the program so well that they could resuscitate an infant!!
We also teach Essential Newborn Care to our midwives. It is interesting to watch some of them take notes on the different topics such as the Newborn Exam, Cord Care, Eye Care, Breastfeeding, Cup feeding of the low-birth weight infants and recognition of an infant that might need advanced care. But there are others that are unable to read or write. When we bring out the digital thermometers, some of them panic. But with our color coded chart that we developed, they soon become comfortable when they can match the number on the chart and determine if the baby has a normal temperature, is too hot or too cold.
This year we have two doctors to thank for promoting our training. Dr. Wilson Vicente continues to promote our training and organized the transportation of 22 midwives to come from Patzicia. Dr. Jorge Rosales not only arranged our accommodations for the training and lodging, but also promoted our training to the midwife organizations in Antigua and San Juan Sacatepequez. We had one doctor join the midwives on the first day of training who wants us to return next year to teach at least 60 more midwives from her area. Dr. Vicente still has about 80 midwives for us to teach from around Tecpan and Patzicia. It looks as though we will be busy for the next few years!! The doctors’ goal is to add additional teaching topics to be taught by other organizations after these midwives attend our training.
We also owe a big thanks to our translators. Maria Renata has been with us for the last five years and is my main translator when giving the presentations and demonstrations in front of the classroom. A huge thanks to The University of San Carlos which has provided us with some of our translators for the last three years. The friendships and bonds that we establish with these young ladies make it so difficult to say adios. Victoria Morales from Tecpan joined us for our fifth year and is our principal translator for Spanish to Kaqchikel. Jose Pineda has translated for three years and is our main driver, guardian angel and tourist guide. His mother, Thelma Rivera, has greeted us for so many years with open arms in Guatemala City and provides us room to organize all of the equipment we bring to give the midwives along with lodging the first few days and wonderful meals.
But the biggest thanks goes to all of the nurses who have volunteered over the last 10 years. Their willingness to give their time and expertise in Neonatal Care is truly a gift that goes on giving…saving the lives of those infants who are not breathing at birth.
Please check out our Facebook page, Baby’s Breath Project and our website at www.babysbreathproject.org Thank you for your years of support of our organization!
With warmest regards,
Meg Dornfeld, Chair