it seems like so long ago that i started this crazy journey into cienfuegos, santiago - one of the most rumored neighborhoods of the city - to work in futuro lleno de esperanza's educational center. it's really only been a few short months -but my heart has been changed, softened and opened to this community, the people in it and its future. the doors started to open in so many ways, and in ways that already spoke to me. i've taken classes and read books and been supported in a way i had never imagined possible. me, the internet skeptic, has made friends online that encourage me and lift up this ministry in prayer.
six weeks ago i began, timidly, a class for pregnant women in the community. i walked and walked - knocking on doors and following paths, not sure what i would find. we had 7 women for our first class. i was sure they wouldn't come back. but they did. and we grew from 7 women to 12 women, all eager and ready to learn about their bodies, how to protect themselves and how to care for the babies growing inside of them.
we had new mommies and experienced mommies. together we formed a community of support - sharing our fears and desires and hopes - not just for the babies, but for the neighborhood, for our lives and the futures of those around us.
it was a rocky class - i wasn't exactly sure what i was doing, trying to compensate for cultural beliefs and bizarre pre-natal practices here while informing and empowering these women to take care of themselves and their babies throughout pregnancy and childbirth.
but, i'm counting it a success.
these women want to continue! they want more information. they want more power.
we'll be continuing our "group" in september, along with a new 6-week preparation class for more pregnant mamas.
as soon as i convince my friend katie to help me (hi, katie!) we'll be offering class in Futuro Lleno De Esperanza's other centers that serve haitian communities.
during our last class we learned what will happen in the hospital and how to swaddle newborns.
we also re-touched the subject of lactation.
aurisleyda will have her baby girl at the end of august.
diana is having her third baby - via c-section. she's been a blessing to the group with her knowledge of local herbs that increase milk supply.
as a present to the women in our class, i printed out a belly-picture. photos are not common here, nor is the celebration of pregnancy in lower-income communities. i wanted these women to have a reminder of their beautiful, power bodies!
i dug into my stash of craft supplies, and with help from my friend rebecca (thanks, rebecca) each woman made a picture frame for their photo. thanks aunt lisa for supplying with so much great paper and supplies!!!