It is hard to believe I am nearly half way through my mission contract. It is now March and I just got back from another one of our projects in Taiz Houban. I really enjoyed my trip, although it wasn’t very long. The people were all very nice and made my visit enjoyable.
In Taiz Houban, the staff lives in a wing of one of the hospitals, The Mother & Child Hospital, which is an old hotel that was turned into a makeshift hospital. It has several floors, with no elevator. I felt so bad for the mothers in labour who had to climb several floors to give birth. From some of the rooms of the expat living quarters you can hear the screams of women giving birth, and the cries of mothers who lost a child.
The resources here are so limited, and there is no place for people to do their laundry, so the women are washing the clothes in their rooms by hand and then walking all the way up to the roof to hang it to dry. One woman came to me in absolute tears because her clothes had been taken for the third time and she had nothing left but her hospital pajamas. She spoke frantically in Arabic and the translator explained to me what had happened. I wanted so badly to hug her and to make it better for her. The person giving me the tour brought the issue to our MSF meeting to discuss and we all brainstormed to see what we could do to keep this from happening. It seems that people have also been taking expat clothing and MSF hospital washes as well, because it is all hung out to dry on the roof. There is not enough money to hire a guard to watch the clothes, and I just thought that it was so unfortunate that anyone in her condition would have to have this to worry about as well.
We went to visit the premature babies. Some were only 900 grams! They were so tiny it was hard to believe a human could be so small. The equipment for the babies was very limited, and my thoughts went to back home. I remember when one of my friends had a premature baby in Canada. At the time, she had to be airlifted to a better-equipped hospital, and I had wished that we had more to be able to help her. Now I see how lucky she was because many of the mothers here have had to travel a great distance just to get to the hospital.
At the end of the day, one of the medical team was a bit later coming in. She told us how she was just visiting a little boy, who just the previous day they weren’t sure if he would pull through. He was only a few years old and she had brought him a blue balloon. He was so ecstatic that she gave him this balloon and begged her to stay and play with him. Our medical colleague was so happy to see him happy, and as she told us the story, she said she was not sure if he would survive his illness, so it was clear that these small moments mean a lot. I don’t know how my medical colleagues do it, but seeing what they see would break my heart on a daily basis.