Madame Bwa

Haiti_111Madame Bwa lives and works in Cap Haitian’s poorest slum, Shada. For MFK, she educates mothers about good nutrition and clean water and refers severely malnourished children to the Medika Mamba malnutrition program at Hôpital Justinien. Her work also involves a free clinic, midwifery services, and nutrition and sexual education of kids and adolescents. The narrow mud alleys of Shada leading up to her clinic are filled with glass and other trash, tepid water, and curious children. Inside her clinic, it is overflowing with patients, because it is the one day a week that they can pay a doctor to come for consultations. Fungal and helminthic infections, diarrhea, malaria, typhoid, tuberculosis and HIV are common. Tests for diagnoses are expensive and even with a diagnosis, medicine is scarce. Over the noise of screaming children, she tells of the hardship of watching the children suffer, especially those that she helped bring into this world. As a midwife, she averages 50 births a month, which makes 2-3 births a day. She has been working in the area for 33 years. Doing the math, most of the kids in the clinic were brought into the world with her assistance.

 

Similar to MFK’s mission, she tries to address the root causes of the problems she sees on a daily basis. Her work educating young women about sex has decreased young pregnancies. Her practical skills program includes sowing and shoe making and provides a social opportunity for adolescents. Repeatedly, she uses the words ‘not enough’ – not enough medicine, not enough money, not enough space – and yet she is so grateful for little things. Madame Bwa is an incredible woman who has almost nothing but is willing to give everything. She represents a bulwark against resignation. Every day she fights for a better future for her community and the people in Shada.