We spent some time today enjoying a few local tourism spots at the Nairobi national park.  We visited the elephant orphanage and a giraffe sanctuary.  So fun to see the animals up close and to learn about the ways Kenya is trying to preserve the wild-life.  We took lots of pictures, and I got sunburned. We spent lunch chatting with the women who organized the doula training to learn more about how they operate. Doulas in Nairobi face the same problems as doulas in the states, and they nearly all revolve around the demands of being on call. We shared some organizational ideas for doulaRead More →

It took a few days, but we made it to Nairobi. We are rested, and settled into our lodgings. We were able to meet the two local women who did the work to arrange the training and our trip. One is a midwife, the other is a US citizen, 10 year resident of Nairobi. Both are currently working as doulas. We have already asked many questions about birth, midwifery and the rights of women in Kenya. Here are some things we have learned thus far. Kenya (like most other countries of the world) is experiencing a shortage of nurses. To help meet nursing needs, theRead More →

Less than 24 hours to take off.  I think everything is packed.  I have class tomorrow then off to the airport to meet Tammy. I’m still trying to decide what carry on bag to take and how to bring my camera.  We seem to have gotten the nervousness out of our systems, and I’m starting to be exited about the trip. I’ll post again as soon as we have internet.Read More →

Tomorrow I am off to Nairobi to help a friend as she trains doulas. Very excited to participate, and you can follow the story at the Birth in Central Africa blog, even though Nairobi isn’t central. As part of our issues in midwifery class each student midwife had to present on a topic of current interest to midwives.  I chose the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. I felt confident before the presentation, but 15 minutes goes fast and I’m not sure I did a good job of explaining everything.  If you are interested in global midwifery (and missed my presentation in class todayRead More →

Before our trip to Nayngezi in 2008 I had very romantic ideas about what it would be like to “help” the people of Africa.  I understood the major differences between the regions and I knew I wasn’t going on safari.  I realized there would be no birthing in huts and that despite what you see on television, most people would be dressed rather similar to me. Yet I still had an innocence about what I would encounter. Returning home from that trip I realized something had ripped inside me. To see the poverty, experience the extortion, come face to face with the abuse of the women, feelingRead More →

I am barely home from a weekend at the birth center, need to prep for classes tomorrow and then I can start working on packing for the trip.  Tammy is having some supplies shipped directly to me, since I live in Atlanta, to avoid having a charge for an extra bag.  I will be meeting her at the airport after my last final exam and will need to have everything packed to go before class on Tuesday morning.  I never really thought about the creativity we would need to get the supplies there with us! I have class all day tomorrow and Wednesday, but IRead More →

I found this book on clearance!  I have to admit I carry it around with me and study during breaks in classes.  It’s that easy to learn from.  Very simply, it is photos with descriptions of various issues. At the end of each section are critical thinking activities – What would you do if you were working with a woman who had this.  Tremendously helpful for someone whose most challenging client had inverted nipples. So, what types of issues are we talking about? Skin issues such as burns, scars and rashes; abscesses; clefting; candidiasis in baby and mom; abrasions; psoriasis; and even inverted nipples. I likeRead More →

I’m reviewing the semester’s lectures today.  I need to take my final exam a week early to head for Kenya so I need to start getting ready. Honestly, I’d start getting ready anyway–it is just who I am. One of the lectures was on the topics of medical abortion and sterilization. Midwives need to be ready and able to counsel women on the full range of women’s health issues so I need to know my research even if I am not the practitioner performing a procedure. Only, midwives in some areas do have the legal right to provide some medical abortion services – generally theRead More →

This weekend is a bit of a rush for me.  I am on call at the birth center and trying to finish my projects for school.  I have just over a week before we leave for Nairobi – two weeks of classes and I will need to take all my finals early. All my papers need to be completed early. All my presentations need to be completed early. Unfortunately, I cannot keep my focus on papers.  My husband and children will be returning from their “epic journey” in just a few days.  All my attention is on them.  I cannot keep them out of myRead More →

One of the reasons I am often given for why a would-be midwife puts off her training is money. Truth is, it can be very expensive to be a student. I remember how unreasonable the costs seemed when I first became certified as a childbirth educator. I needed to buy about 5 books, pay for a membership and certification fees and of course attend a seminar that meant travel and hotel expenses. The total cost, because I went with a more expensive program, was about $2000. It took me the better part of 2 years of teaching childbirth classes to make the money back forRead More →