Living about ten minutes down the road from the job site, Soinie knows the area well. While she looks out over the mountains and acknowledges the beautiful home she has, she also knows the struggles that Haitian families face living so far from a big town. There are no hospitals and only small remote clinics dotted throughout the trails. And even those are few and far between with limited hours and services. FHM’s birthing center and women’s health clinic will be an incredible opportunity for the women of Fondwa and neighboring villages to receive pre- and postnatal treatment, and of course help during delivery.
“I have five children,” Soinie tells me. “I had all of them at my house. Only their father was there to help me. Thanks to God, all of them were healthy deliveries. Had there been a problem I would have had to try to go to the hospital in Leogane.”
The hospital in Leogane is about 15 miles down the mountain from Fondwa. You would have to flag down at least two public transportation vehicles to get there. If you didn’t live near the main road, you’d have to walk or ride a donkey 15 minutes or two hours (or more!) depending on where you lived to even get to that point. And for a woman who is in the middle of a complicated delivery, her chances of reaching the hospital in time are slim. “This is a good project for this community,” she continues. “There is no hospital here. The women need a place to go for medical care.”
When asked how the men received her on the job site she said they have no problem with it. I asked Ozee, one of the guys, for his thoughts and he said they’re all happy to have her on the crew. “Li janm!” he said, meaning she’s fit and very capable of doing her job. The women who’ve seen her working on the project call her a “fanm vanyan” which literally translates as a valiant woman. It has the same meaning in English… a woman who is admirable, strong, courageous. A few of them have even said that they would love to join her on the crew!
We couldn’t be more thrilled to see the birthing center project underway. And having Soinie on the crew is an added bonus! “Women helping women!” Ozee says as he watches Soinie pass by with her buckets. “It’s good. Very good.” We couldn’t agree more! This community is rallying together for the sake of their community. Exciting things are happening in Fondwa! It’s good. Very good!