Hello Everyone, I turned 51 today in Jibhi, Himachal Pradesh, India, one of the most beautiful places on earth. It will go down as one of the most memorable birthdays of my life. It was also the festival of Holi, which is essentially the festival of colors and it made for a great party.
Yesterday I taught my first group of midwives who came from some neighboring villages to learn more about newborn resuscitation. We met in a hut with a dirt floor that serves as a local clinic and the women all looked like they stepped out of a National Geographic special. To get the supplies to the hut, several little boys helped us navigate down the trails on the side of the mountain where goats, yaks, and cows were grazing. Everyone we passed was so grateful to see us there. It was incredibly humbling as I looked around and realized how much these women do for the women and children of Jibhi and how little they have to work with.
This is my first YMAD trip and I tried a new way of teaching basic newborn resuscitation that was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and LDS Humanitarian services called Helping Babies Breath (HBB). It was perfect and I’m so grateful for Deb Whipple and MJ McGregor recommending it and providing me with some of the supplies I needed. I ended up buying and bringing about 30 bag/mask combos that can be used multiple times and I taught the local midwives the basic techniques for newborn assessment, support and stimulation, and when necessary, ventilation until help can arrive. The program is great and my hope is that YMAD can continue to use it.
To all you parents, your kids are great inspirations to me and you should be so proud. I haven’t been to all of the schools so I can’t comment on each teen. However, the first day I hiked on my own to the school where Svartha is teaching. I crested the hill and saw Nate Walker and Landon Longson sitting on the side of an incredibly high mountain, surrounded by school kids, and teaching English through a series of games and activities. They were completely immersed in what they were doing and the kids were enthralled. Parents – be so proud. They are MAKING A DIFFERENCE. Your kids will be telling you more about the trip and please pay attention to what they’re saying. They are doing something far more important than anything they would be doing at home right now. Every sacrifice they’ve made to be here is worth it and they will use their experiences in India for the rest of their lives.
By the way, they’re all very kind to me and have been wishing me happy birthday all day.
Take care and see you all in a couple of week.
PS....So little did I know that I still had a big surprise waiting for me. We were finishing dinner and listening the some loud music when Greg walked in holding a cake imported from Manali, complete with a candle and some flowers. Everybody sang to me and gave me a new biking jersey. I won’t say what was on the Jersey because it’s kind of PG-13. Needless to say, I like it a lot.