Seventeen days ago, the niece of one of our Haitian Snack Shop cooks died on our school soccer field from internal injuries sustained during the massive earthquake.
This morning at 8:10 am, a healthy baby girl was born in our school music room, right under the bulletin board describing the treble clef.
Let me back up just a moment.
I woke up, feeling much better after two days of very, VERY ill. I gingerly got ready to teach. I headed over to the chapel where all grade levels are meeting each morning for singing, prayer, and short devotions.
"this is the day, this is the day
that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice
and be glad in it, and be glad in it".
They sang it in a cute round, standing up when it was their turn to sing.
After chapel, I have about two hours until it's time to teach my first class- 7th and 8th grade English. I went up the command center to use the computer to create new syllabuses (syllabi?) for the second time this month. On the way to the command center I hear the news....
a woman's in labor in the music room!
Not ten minutes later, little Thalina is born.
This is what my mother and I like to call "one freshly hatched baby"! Not one hour old! She's very healthy and mom and baby are now resting comfortably (still in the music room, mind you!), not 100 yards from where 175 doctors are ready to care for them.
The full story is this: QCS staff member Els Vervloet was working the overnight shift in the command center that is coordinating all our relief efforts (answering emergency phone calls, etc). Around 2 am, one of our Haitian guards comes to her and say that one of the Haitian women living on our campus (in the art and music rooms and adjoining porch/outdoor areas) is pregnant and is "having pain". Els goes to the woman, learns her name is Vanessa, and times that the contractions are really contractions and are about 7 minutes apart. She goes to wake a German doctor, and they try to figure out 1) if there are any midwives/OB's staying here, and, once they discover there is a midwife 2) where the heck she is sleeping among this Elementary Building/anthill of tents, sleeping bags, sleeping docs, and equipment sprawled everywhere. Somehow they find her and wake her. By the time morning came, the labor was progressing, but the first-time mother was becoming tired and discouraged. At this point, our school nurse Miquette joined in. When it was time to push, the baby was born within 15 minutes- and Els, the midwife, and Miquette were there for the whole joyous entrance of little Thalina.
Els is in LOVE! Els kept saying, "it's the day before my 48th birthday, and I've waited 48 years to be part of a birth!". Happy birthday, Thalina, and Happy birthday, Els! When I went in to see Vanessa and her baby, there were about 30 people in the music classroom, passing the baby around- not one hour after her birth! About 20 of them were kids. Vanessa was lying in the corner on the floor (beneath the aforementioned treble clef bulletin board- the whole contrast of the birth/elementary music classroom was pretty crazy to me) on some towels and sheets, looking happy and proud and tired. She had an IV in her arm. I've been to the hospital the day my friends the Bowlins had their precious kids Olivia and Jack, and the contrasts were so striking. No hospital, no nursing staff hovering, no children-kept-out, no hospital bed, no wall-mounted hand sanitizer every 25 inches, no "four guests at a time" or visiting hours, no whisked-away-for-APGAR-testing to the nursery, no incubator, no birth certificate, no little pink-or-blue hat.....
Little Thalina's birth was probably a lot closer to what Jesus' was like than anything I've seen before!
While checking on baby Thalina I got a quick update on Quincy - the little boy with the broken femur that I was so concerned about the night of the quake. He is no longer in traction or attached to a catheter. Today I saw him sitting in a chair with a thigh-to-ankle hard cast on one leg (the left one, the one we thought had the femur fracture). There were signatures on his little cast:) I love that that's a cross-cultural trend. His eyes were still pretty black, and he looked thin- we'll continue to pray for Quincy. I originally guessed he was about 3, but it turns out he is 5- it's hard to guess kids' ages in Haiti because I'm used to what American-fed kids' sizes are. Praise God that he is healing.
Also, in other joyful news, happy birthday to little Kyle Varnell, born to my sweet Buckner friend Jill just yesterday - welcome to this world, Kyle!
And then, after all that, I had to go teach two classes. I mean, I was excited to teach, but it was quite a high to be a part of that joy. Felicitales, mama Vanessa.
Corrigan Clay, a real true friend and mentor to Ben and I since we arrived here, is now teaching the seniors for all their courses. Five were in class today, with a few more arriving next week I hear.
The last hour of the day is intended for homework, so the kids don't have to take work home if they use that time wisely. Today, a group didn't have any homework, so I decided to teach them Chickenfoot, game-of-choice of the Blankenship/Kilpatrick clan! Thank you, Gran and Poppy, for teaching me to play! Here are my students Stephanie, Marlee, Maika, Ebony, and Raphael tallying the scores after a round. They really got into the game! It really helped me see some personality aspects that weren't coming out as quickly in the classroom.
The best part of my day, each day, is reading your notes and knowing we are prayed for.
Team, you are irreplaceable.