This year you supported two teams!! Over the twenty days we were there, we were able to teach 110 midwives and three firefighters, each of whom received a certificate and a Baby’s Breath Project backpack filled with the supplies necessary to put their training to use. We loved hearing the midwives’ stories about their experiences. Their eagerness to learn these resuscitation skills and recognizing what they can do within the first minute of life (The Golden Minute) to stimulate a baby who is not breathing is remarkable. They practice over and over again, eventually becoming more familiar with the equipment that they need to use to put this training in practice.
One young lady (age 12) attended the training along with her grandmother. Her grandmother felt that her granddaughter had a gift to do midwifery. She had already assisted her grandmother with a delivery and decided that she would also learn the resuscitation skills. What an opportunity to pass this knowledge to the next generation.
One partially blind midwife was accompanied by her daughter so that she could assist her mother with her observational skills…what dedication!
This seemed to be one of our more emotional trips. One group of midwives chanted a prayer in their indigenous language prior to our starting the classes. On Graduation Day I had one midwife, while gripping onto her certificate and backpack, fall into my arms with the biggest hug and then start to sob…thanking me over and over for this opportunity. These dedicated women, ranging in their 20s to their 80s arrive after a bus ride between one and two hours. Repeatedly, I heard them thanking each of us for our patience in teaching them.
Our two days with each group that comes for the training was filled with smiles and tears of joy, new friendships and the feeling of accomplishment! And the following quote is from one one of our translators, “I am still moved by the whole experience with comadronas. Every interpreting trip is different for me, but this one felt special in the most giving way. I cannot believe it ended so quickly, thank you for letting me learn from all of you, I treasure it. I am really looking forward to help you any time it's needed.”
I truly have to say that our success lies with the nurses who do the individual teaching at each of the tables when we break up into small groups. Their knowledge, guidance, respect and patience are what truly inspired each of these midwives to do their best. They are organized and were always willing to take on different roles to help me. Our first team was comprised of Ashley France, Morgan Haus, Emma Schnell, Anne Borman, Jill Callister and Emily Petermeier, all being first time volunteers.
Our second team included Christi Johnson, Alizabeth Elfering, Shannon Grovum, Allie Mareck, Diane Schmidt, Julie Wirth Schuster and Anita Thornhill. Four of these nurses had taught in previous years!
Each nurse was provided with a Spanish translator and at some of the tables an additional translator was needed who could speak one of the indigenous languages (Kaqchikel and K’iche – two of the 24 indigenous languages spoken in Guatemala). We owe a big thanks to three American translators, Jan Saunders, Sara Martin and Sam Anderson. Our Guatemalan translators this year were Kiki, Sassy, Renata, Maria, Victoria, and Maribel. Our sincere gratitude also for our University of San Carlos translators Mery, Alessandra, Monica, Joseline and Cindy!
Enjoy the photos and thanks so much for supporting our organization!
Meg Dornfeld, Chair
Santa Catarina Bobadilla, Guatemala: January 2020
The photos on this page are from the classes that were held over two weeks with 110 midwives and three firefighters. The photos in the top row and at the bottom left and right show midwives practicing their resuscitation skills with “NeoNatalie” dolls and, as the photo at right shows, doing some role playing as well!
The “graduation” photos of midwives and the teaching teams here and on the next page were taken after two full days of learning, watching and practicing. For many of them, there was also a long bus ride to and from the teaching each day.
The middle photo on the bottom row on this page is one of the team of nurses and translators that trained midwives. All of the nurses and translators from the United States paid for their own airfare, with Baby’s Breath Project paying for the expenses in Guatemala.