Category Archives: Elders

Elder Abandonment

Her face pulled attention for a photograph.  Local vendors and their story drew wonderment.  The old woman often accompanied her daughter, a regular seller at the Pont Sondet market, along the Artibonite River in Haiti.  They arrived in mornings from the northern area of Haiti’s central plateau, worked the market all day, and left before dark.  Over time the daughter amassed debt, buying on credit and promising to pay later.  Her husband had financial troubles of his own.

One afternoon the daughter left the market without her mother, never to return.  Now the old woman lives at the market.  Other sellers give her handouts and make sure she’s taken care of, yet resent the burden of another mouth to feed. She’s wasn’t supposed to be their responsibility. The old woman is sick and can hardly stand.  She seemed ashamed of being abandoned and showed anger when speaking about it.

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Midwife of Lorie Village

Bernadette Joseph is a  traditional Haitian midwife working in the Lorie Village area of northern Haiti.  The following is from an interview I did with her last week.

 

Q: What’s your name and what do you do?

A:  They call me Bernadette Joseph.  When the women are pregnant I deliver the babies.

Q: How long have you been a midwife?

A: For a very long time.  More than 10 years.

Q: Why did you become a midwife?

A: When I was a young girl there was an old lady who used to do this, and I used to watch her.  That’s how I learned how to deliver babies.

Q: How many babies have you delivered?

A: All those babies over there (pointing to the closest row of people in the clinic – photo above), I delivered all of them.  In a month, on average, I have about 4 or 5 babies that I deliver.  I have babies that I have delivered that now are pregnant.  Everybody calls me because they know how well experienced I am.

Q: What kind of training did you do to become a midwife?

A: I learned from the old woman in the village when I was young, and by myself, and with the help of god.  Nobody (formally) taught me anything.  There are others who are beginners, but I am the most qualified in this area.

Q: Where are the babies delivered?

A: I deliver the babies at the patient’s house.  Then I have to give them a bath; the baby and the patient.

Q: What do you like most about being a midwife?

A: I’m the type of person who likes to do good for everybody and that satisfies me.  They don’t pay me to do this.  I like to do this so much that the whole community calls me Grandmother.

Later in the day after speaking with Bernadette, I past by her house and took this photo with her husband and three of their five children.

Copyright 2011 Adam Bacher, All rights reserved. Absolutely NO usage without prior authorization.


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