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by Mary Evans

I have been spending the past two weeks working as a doula at the public hospital in La Ceiba.

The day after I arrived in Honduras, Silvia did a training session with me, gave me a tour of the hospital and then I got to work!

Each day I supported mamas in the active phase of labour, through the birthing and early postpartum period and helped breastfeeding get off to a good start.

I am struck by how strong and brave these mamas are, laboring on their own with no pain medication, welcoming any suggestions of things to try in order to make their labors shorter and more comfortable and also by their immense love for their babies. It was a special pleasure to be able to give cuddles to babies whose mamas couldn’t for one reason or another.

What an amazing opportunity it was for me to witness so many births in such a short time, quite a contrast to my usual doula work in Canada. Dar A Luz is doing such wonderful work in Honduras.

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by Cassandra West

Me and fellow volunteer Zoe have been running Dar a Luz birth education workshops for pregnant women in Santa Rosa. There were 30 women at the first workshop we did. In order to help break the ice and foster a warm atmosphere we started with a raffle whereby people won prizes of baby clothes. This went down well and caused many smiles. We then prayed together, something that deeply resonates with Honduran women here. It was really beautiful.
The workshop felt really valuable and provided information that not all of these women were aware of. Some did not know what a placenta was, for example. Having such knowledge now helps provide shock and fear during labor! It was a wonderful experience and we look forward to running the workshop again next week.

Rich Journeys

Pico BonitoI arrived here in Honduras a week ago now and already am feeling rich and humbled from my experiences. Silvias warm and obvious passion instantly had me feeling welcome here and I have been very excited to begin getting involved. The plan for me is to start in La Ceiba, then to Santa Rosa and finally in the capital. As I am far from fluent in Spanish, Silvia has arranged for me to have excellent Spanish lessons at a very reasonable rate with a beautiful woman nearby. Other volunteers have also had this opportunity. This is helping me ground here. So too is walking and taking in the mountain clad landscape.

Most of my days so far have consisted of Spanish lessons and hospital visits. In the public hospital in La Ceiba I’ve been able to support laboring women in my Doula capacity. I was a little anxious about how things might be here, expecting that I might find it difficult not to be able to stretch far enough to be with all the women at the same time!

Cassandra WestIndeed, I can’t, but that is all the more reason to be here. It is so needed. There are great lessons, too, in trusting my intuition and sensing who most needs my support at any given time. After only a week I feel so happy to be here and to be able to reach out to women during a precious moment in their lives.

Providing emotional support is greatly needed here as it does not seem to be part of the current hospital protocol. The work of Dar a Luz is amazing and I can really feel that transformations are happening. Support, both physically and financially, is greatly needed to help the magic continue over here.

Presence is the key.

It’s a challenging environment to work in for many reasons. Silvia and the Dar a Luz volunteers seem to me angels in this place. I am grateful to be able to hold a woman’s hand as she moves through her pain, to offer massage and pressure point therapy, to introduce essential oils, eye contact, encouragement, warm socks and towels. Essentially, love.

This is just the beginning of my journey here and I know I have lots to learn and lots to offer. Thank-you Dar a Luz for providing such a gift to so many people.

Cassandra Rosa West  x

Rural Birth Work

bdscn1009y Griet Vandamme

My name is Griet, a midwife from Belgium who spent 7 weeks working for Dar a Luz in Honduras.

I contacted Silvia whilst volunteering in another project in Guatemala. Within a month everything was arranged and I stepped out of the bus in La Ceiba, my first stop.

I am very grateful to Silvia for making it possible to do a lot of different things for Dar A Luz. I worked in a public city hospital as a doula in La Ceiba, I worked in the small mountain village Yarucca training local midwives. I also spent some time in a maternal-infant clinic and healthcare centre close to Copan Ruinás giving information to pregnant girls and women. In between I was able to explore the beautiful Honduras a little more.

But for me the most impressive experience was working and staying for two weeks in La Moskitia, Honduras’ tropical rainforest that also covers a part of Nicaragua. The Miskitos own this beautiful part of Honduras and with their own language Miskito and their cultural habits they try to make the best of their lives. There is no access to basic needs like electricity and running water. This part of Honduras can only be reached by taking a boatride after a long and adventurous ride in a jeep.

The village of Ibans has a centro de salud which became my home for 2 weeks. Continue Reading »

Thanks to Jenna!

Jenna, thank you so much for all your wonderful support!

Thousands thanks yo your community for all the wonderful donations you brought with you!

Thanks to the lady, which donated a lot of gently used children shoes for unprotected children feet here in Honduras!

Thanks for your judge fundraising action and for all the wonderful materials you purchased for us, as fetoscopes, pinards, blood pressure cuffs, essential oils, for bringing down two heavy extra suitcase.

Thanks for all the ring slings, the fabric, the sawing materials, for EVERYTHING!

And overall, thank you for coming to Honduras, to join us here, for your big heart and for being a doula for a lot of women in one of the public hospitals of Honduras!

Thanks for donating your time! Thanks to all the people , which supported your trip!

Compassion and Respect

by Virginia Mccabe

I have been working as a doula/ birth companion for the birthing mothers. My responsibilities are to comfort and support the women throughout their labor. The job is very rewarding! The women are not allowed to have family members in the labor ward so having someone to talk to, hold their hand and comfort is very appreciated by the women.

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Lottery at the Childbirth education Class

During my time here I have been a part of a great hands-on birthing class, hosted by Silva. We had a wide range of experienced to new mothers, even a nurse joined us. I thought the information was very informative, the women gained very useful knowledge on birth and were all very grateful.

Working for Dar a Luz is very flexible. You can take a few days off in order to enjoy the beautiful islands around Honduras. Or you can work in different areas.

For me, my time and experience here has been invaluable. I came here wanting to help these women because they don’t have the same birthing luxuries as in my country but deserve the same compassion and respect. Although we speak a different language love and kindness transcends any language barrier. Coming away from this I now know that birth is what I want to study, to become a midwife.

Christianna and Emliy

Christianna,Doula and Nurse Midwife from the United States, and Emily, Doula from England.

Out of my heart a big thanks to you Christianna and Emliy! You came both at the same time! You did an amazing job!  It has been amazing to have you here! And I am looking forward to see you again! Thank you for supporting so many women in the hospital for participating in the childbirth educationc and supporting the seminar for respectful birth! Thanks for all your good ideas and deep understanding of the aims of the project!

Thanks to you Christanna for doing placenta models, preparing and holding an RCP for newborn workshop, for all the donations you brought along with you and you organized! Thanks to you Emily for supporting office work, and your wonderful initiative and ideas to support breastfeeding  in the hospital!

All the best wishes from Honduras!