Saturday, January 24, 2009

Adventures in childbirth and dental hygiene

Two months into my Peace Corps service and happy, healthy and loving my work. My small village is the perfect fit for me and I love walking to work everyday and saying hi to everyone I pass. They all seem to know me, but I'm still seeing new faces everyday. Work has been everything I could hope for so far. My counter-part is wonderful and I have attended 4 births with her so far. The first birth I had to make use of my bike flashlight (Thanks to the Millers in Pittsburgh!) to help the midwife see when the lights went out at the clinic and word is spreading about the novel idea that I let women see their babies heads crowning by holding up a mirror for them. I've also been teaching hygiene and nutrition lessons at the kindergarten and I've started recieving reports from parents that their kids are asking for toothbrushes and singing the "this is the way we wash our hands" in Turkmen. They get so cute and excited to brush the teeth on my giant mouth model made of plastic bottle bottoms. After work a few times a week I have English and sport clubs for the kids and I seem to have sparked an upsurge in the local childrens sports gear market.
My host family is great and I feel really at home with them. Our village just got gas last week, so thats made it easier for me to take a "bath" a little more frequently which is wonderful now that I've started running. People are getting used to seeing me in my running pants, jogging around sometimes with little kids in tow and will say "Arma" (Don't get tired) to me as I pass and smile. I've even done some exercises with some older women who are overnight patients in the health clinic getting treatment for hypertension related problems, which are really prevalent here.
I'm also getting to meet women my age who are making carpets by joining in their work with them and learning a bit of the beautiful intricate patterns they have learned by heart. I'm hoping that I will be able to develop more presentations on pregnancy, nutrition and childbirth for future informal classes with these groups of women.
Its snowed a few times, but only once where the kids hit the streets for snowball fights and snowmen. The mountains look amazing covered in snow and I don't think I've ever seen the stars so clearly as I do on my walks to the outhouse late at night.

More in a month or so when I get back to the city again!


Anonymous said...

Mary--great to read that you are well and enjoying your experience. It sounds like a 'real' Peace Corps experience--far from other volunteers and living with the locals. All the best, Allen

Joel said...

Hi Mary,
What an adventure! It is wonderful to hear the enthusiasm and happiness you have. I can not wait for the next installment.

Mike said...


I can't help but think all the people in your village love you to pieces like me! This is quite an adventure so far, can't wait for the next chapter!


andyC said...

Sounds great. Everyone says hi! We'll keep you in our prayers.

Holly said...

Hi Mary!

I am so proud of you, and like your Dad, looking forward to the "next installment"!

Much Love,


Mohsen Moossavi محسن موسوی said...

very wonderful