By Jennifer Quigley, Frist Global Health Leader
What an amazing time here in Haiti this has been! Gloria, my friend who came with me and I have been here for two weeks now and sadly have only one week left. Every day has been an adventure, with meeting new people and learning new things.
A little bit about why we are here! The wonderful organization Hope Through Healing Hands Foundation graciously gave Belmont University a grant to offer a fellowship in global health with a focus on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies to one of the students in the College of Health Sciences. With my calling to teach natural family planning and my passion for global health, I applied with hopes to expand my knowledge and create the beginnings of my life work, setting up a path for my future. My proposal for educating providers in Northern Haiti about a method of natural family planning called the Standard Days Method was chosen and with guidance and support from my excellent instructors in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Belmont, we were able prepare and make my dream a reality.
Gloria and I arrived in Robillard, Haiti, which is a rural town 30 minutes from Cap-Haitian on Friday, May 22nd with a very warm welcome. Father André is graciously hosting Gloria and I in his home and has made sure that we are very well taken care of. We were present for many of the activities of the town over the weekend and began our first education class the following Monday.
The people of Haiti are so excited for this education and have been more than receptive of the information. Fr. André is so excited about the method of education that he called many of his fellow priests and filled the days that we are not teaching at the clinics for the research project so that we may introduce the method in each of their parishes. We have seen much of the country side, city side, and visited more than 10 different cities in Nord (North) Haiti. So far we have trained 25 physicians, nurses, and health agents in the Standard Days Method. This afternoon we will go to our fourth clinic and teach 5 more providers! God is so good and has blessed this mission so well.
Wedding Day! May 23, 2015
On this day, we witnessed the wedding ceremony and vows of 26 couples who married in the Church. It is tradition for the husband to give his new bride a ring as a gift on their wedding day. Many couples choose not to get married if the man cannot afford a ring. With this in mind, my church, St. Rose of Lima sent 26 sets of wedding rings to Notre Dame de la Merci, and each went to a well deserving couple.
These two women are sisters and both got married to their significant others. The couple on the right had been together for 50 years and have children and grandchildren. The couple on the left have been together for 37 years.
Here are three priest from the Cathedral in Cap-Haitien who came to help Father Andrè with all of the marriage vows. We had a large dinner reception for all the couples after the ceremony.
These children are excited to see their parents get married. It is funny in Haiti, I noticed everyone smiles all the time.....until you point a camera at them...
...Unless the camera is in "selfie mode"! The little children love to see their faces in the camera.
One of the brides getting ready before the ceremony. Many people donated wedding dresses and jewelry for the occasion, a Mary Kay representative came to do make up.
My new friend and me at the reception for the wedding couples and their immediate family's.