Day 1

Today was my first day in clinic near the Myanmar border. The trip to the camps was loud, crowded and dangerous as we avoided hitting people, other cars and missed near head on collisions with other trucks.
The Hope Emergency Clinic is were I worked today. It is just outside the camps along the road way. Soon after opening the people came. I did a prenatal visit all the pregnant women who came. Everyone was between 5-9 months pregnant. All the babies felt very tiny.
Each women complaining of nausea, vertigo and stomach pains. All complaints that I knew were caused from being dehydrated, over heated and hungry. The answer water, food bit of AC and some rest is not possible for these women. I did not have water to hand them  or a cool spot for them to rest but I was able to hand them each a Cliff bar and if the had a child with them a piece of fruit leather. It is truly heartbreaking to know I could not give them what they truly needed. You could see the sadness and desperation as I looked into each of their eyes. I really hope I was able to make each one feel special and cared for for moment I was with her.
There is so much work to be done and so many needs here that it feels overwhelming. My mission for tomorrow is to have a bottle of water and a piece of fruit for each mama that I see.
Your support is needed.


Day 2

Today started with a stop to the hospital were all the doctors, local midwives and local health workers and students were packing up to head to the camps with us. There were many people standing around. One woman had a baby wrapped in blankets in her arms. A sweet little baby who had passed away after she given a C/S the night before. A day after a CS and with her precious baby in her arms she made her way back to camp to say her final good byes. 😢 I arrived at the clinic nauseous from the crazy ride getting there. (I can’t even explain the crazy scary driving that happens here)
Even though It was early morning it was already unbearably hot and humid. Sweat rolling down my back as we began to set up for the day. Today was a very busy day lots of pregnant women needed to be seen. All again with complaints of general weakness , headaches, abdominal pains. All needed water and food and a cool spot to rest.
Only one mama with a huge smile told us all was normal. She just wanted us to check on her baby.
I made many little friends today. One little boy stuck around the whole clinic day peaking through my window, and teasing me.
By the end of the day my little group of friends had grown to 8. They loved teasing me by getting me to look different places for no reason, we stuck out our tongues, made funny noises, clapped our hands and had many laughs. They followed me all the to the van waving and saying bye bye as we pulled away. Those kids sure uplifted my spirits. Even after a long hot day exhausting day these little people brought me so my joy 

Day 3

Today we arrived at hospital just a woman arrived by Tom Tom unable to walk. Another busy day at the emergency field clinic. A full day of prenatal visits and issues from fistulas, skin infections to headaches and fatigue.
At the end of the day we had one pregnant woman still waiting to be seen. The doctors working in the other chambers were unwilling to wait for us to see her. They left in the only van to take us back to Cox’s Bazar. So what do the midwives do? We see and care for our waiting client! This left us with no choice but to take a Tom Tom home. The ride was about 1 hour and 40 mins  (ride cost us 1000 Takas about $10).
Oh man it was quite a ride. We are traveling along, honking, swerving, and slamming on the brakes as usual and then boom we hit another Tom Tom. (no worries we are ok) A van hit a rickshaw in front of us and the driver and the woman riding had be thrown out. Hopefully they are both ok. Now that we have had a few days of clinic and seeing what the needs are it’s time to make a plan. The plan is to find out all that is available from other NGO’s so that we are able to make sure all of the pregnant women we seeing, are getting the best care possible. I want to make sure they are getting prenatal visits, sick care as needed, assisted deliveries , postpartum care and extra food rations while pregnant and breastfeeding. This will be no easy task.


Day 4

Today was a day of emails, and planning, and shopping list. Making plans to train the local midwives, and making sure we have the things that the pregnant women need. Right now it’s dark, the wind is starting to pick up, and the rain is starting to fall. My window is open I can feel the warm breeze and hear some lively music being played. The next 24 hours it’s reported that we will be getting the outer bands of a cyclone so I am not sure the plans for tomorrow yet.

Day 5

I spent the day at a birth center. I loved it. The 3 women who work there also live there. When a mother shows up they are ready to care for her. Midwifery as a profession is a new idea here in Bangladesh. I really hope the women embrace it.
Everyone was so welcoming. We were given a tour of the center, walked around the grounds, met their babies, served tea and toast, ate fruit I had never tasted and met brand new baby goats.
While I don’t share a common language with these women, the bond was still there. We are midwives

Day 6

I was just to tired to post last night before bed. The smoke really got to me yesterday. ***Cough , cough**** There is no waste management in the country, so all
trash is dumped on the ground and then used to fuel fires. Imagine all the burning plastic in the air. Yesterday was another busy day of clinic. Lots of pregnant mamas all in line at once. The warm wind was blowing, the children laughing and always trying to get attention, women quickly moving through the chamber and handing outs lots of vitamins. Most of the women have a blank stare when they walk into the clinic but by the end of our visit I can get most of them to smile at least once. I know some things are being lost in translation but a gentle touch, a warm smile and hand gestures are getting a lot accomplished.
A photographer shooting for Every Mother Counts came today the clinic today. He was on his way down to the border town know as ” no mans land” so I hitched a ride. As we got farther way from the clinic and deeper into the jungle we had several police check points to go through. We made our way to the edge of the Naf River. This river is the one the one the refugees cross from Myanmar to get to Bangladesh. I could see Myanmar just off in the distance. I did not see a boat cross but two full of people had come that morning. I saw all all those people sitting in line to be registered at the registration camp. We passed camps that been torn down, streams of people walking around with their registration number hanging from there necks. As we made our way back to Cox’s Bazar I wondered what the long term out look is for the Rohingya people. There are just so many who need a country to call their own, a house, a job, an education. I hope the world opens their boarders and welcomes them with open arms. * only got a few pictures cause my phone will not stay charged😕

Day 7

Today was another busy day of bellies and babies. It was hot, busy and crowded at the clinic today. We gave out lots of prenatal vitamins, oral hydration salts, clean birth kits and water to the mamas. It made my heart happy when one mama after her visit said she was very happy to see me, and when the sweet local midwife I have been mentoring told me she loves me with her heart and soul 😍
By the end of the clinic day I am exhausted mentally and physically. Tonight we took a Tom Tom out to eat  😃It’s only 8:13pm here but I am ready to shut my eyes for the night. 😴😴


Day 8

Today was extremely hot, busy and exhausting both mentally and physically for all. The clinic has been open a week and the word has definitely gotten out. Today we heard stories of husbands and children dying along the journey out of Myanmar. A 6 month pregnant woman who had been beaten by the Myanmar army showed up with extremely painful broken arm. As I was trying to get her a Tom Tom to the nearest field hospital for a X-ray and cast, a father dropped the most fragile 17 day old baby in my arms. At first I wasn’t even sure the baby was alive. Thankfully she was. She was suffering from a nasty skin infection😢. We were able to give her the medications she needed to heal.
As the day went on I was feeling drained, thirsty and wanting a break. I reminded myself that I am surrounded by some of strongest, most resliant women in the world. If they could carry on after being beaten, forced to leave their homeland, have their family members killed, built homes from bamboo and string, and manager to care for the children they have. I could carry on just being hot and tired. I will be blessed with AC, food and a bed tonight.

Day 9

Another day of clinic. Another day caring for lots of pregnant women. Here I am seeing more women in one day than I do in a week at the Birth Center of Jacksonville. Many of the women who came to see us today were 9months pregnant. We didn’t have any clean birth kits to pass out. We requested more and I am really hoping the arrive quickly. The clean birth kits provide them with a clean place to have their baby and a clean blade to cut the cord. I had 4 women needing pregnancy test that I did not have either. I am hoping I can purchase those at the pharmacy in the morning. We asked each of them to come back in the morning.
I was lucky to have a translator today . Thank you Younus Khan.
The clinic is noisy, crowded, hot and without windows or doors and many women wait hours for their turn but all of the women are so grateful to receive any care we can give . I am honored to be able to care for them.
*I took these photos as were driving into the Palongkauli camp this morning**

Day 10

Missing my people today. 😘😘 (Tiffany I love this photo of my loves.)
Today was another busy day of clinic. We saw many mamas who were 9 months. Several women who thought they are pregnant but actually aren’t . The stress, malnutrition and strenuous exercise have stopped them from having monthly cycles.
The camps are growing daily. More refugees needing our help. If you have it in your heart come to Bangladesh and help. Come! The need is greater than you ever imagine.