Friday, November 5, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
As much as the rest of American culture may have patriarchal roots, the clinic culture here at this birth center in El Paso is very much steeped in the feminine. The abundant, beautiful, heart-full amount of woman-centered and woman-created artwork on the walls speaks volumes to the culture here at this birth center school on the border, where every experience is tilted slightly to incorporate feminine methods and tendencies. There are hugs, smiles and jokes in the classrooms and through the halls. Every shift change begins and ends with a circle of joined hands of all students, staff and directors present at the clinic to check in from the previous shift and send the new shift off with a blessing for a good day.
Classes are also held many times in a circle formation, with students and teacher sitting on pillows on the floor. Always there is a Kleenex box, or two or four sitting out in the circle. I'm sure I don't need to tell most of you how different this is from most academic programs, where Kleenex boxes would probably only ever be seen in classrooms in the height of winter's cold/flu season. As a habitual cryer provoked pretty much anything, I am grateful beyond words for this cultural statement implicit in a very practical act. The placement of a simple Kleenex box in the middle of every circle gives acceptance to those sweet feminine tendencies within us all, and reminds those of us who don't cry as much to celebrate the importance of our feminine side in the world of academia.
Each day brings new challenges and opportunities for every women here: students, staff members and clients alike. A good sense of humor is an asset; every sparkle of lightness during the day is appreciated. My challenges right now lie in the disappointment I feel in not being able to communicate fully with our Spanish-speaking clients, and in the jaw-dropping abundance of paperwork that flows in a never-ending stream out of the filing cabinets and copy machines. It reminds me of the abundance of the spring water I get off Monarch Pass, only not so tasty. ;)
Every six months a new group of students is accepted to study and work here. The group of students that started when I did, in September 2010, will all graduate in September 2011 as Certified Professional Midwives, and I can't underestimate the excitement in my sister students about this goal. These women I work with are all dedicated, motivated, exciting women to be surrounded by every day and I feel so blessed to know each of them. Each woman brings a unique element that adds to the cohesiveness of our smaller group. These elements blend perfectly with the other student groups and staff midwives to give clients a beautiful array of midwifery personalities.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Aaah, viva la Mexico. I really thought I was moving to an American city. Granted, an American city on la frontera (the border), but an American city nonetheless. For all its Applebees, Targets, Walmarts and Albertsons, El Paso is just about as submersed in American culture as Zihuatanejo is, which is not really at all.