Global Midwifery

Learn to speak the language

I broke one if my rules by agreeing to do births in Tanzania- I agreed to work in an environment where I couldn’t really communicate with the women.

If I cannot communicate, I am very little help. Actually I can be worse than little help because asking questions takes too long, I cannot get good information from the women and if I am in a situation with an immediate need I can’t let those around me know.

It us very American to assume the entire universe speaks English. While I don’t doubt there are English speakers in every country, they will tend to be your wealthy, not those in a public hospital in a poor part if town.

Anyway, for what its worth, take the time to learn the language before you go.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)