Leaving Bangladesh

day 6 1
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasana

I left Bangladesh earlier than I had anticipated to return home to my family due to the death of a loved one.  There is so much work to be done but I will be followed by experienced midwives who will continue where I have left off, and I will also remain involved from afar.  Our goal at Midwife Pilgrim is to not only provide direct care to the Rohingya women and children but to mentor the Bengali midwives so they will be more equipped to deal with this crisis after we are gone.  As sustainable model is the only model that will work and we will do our best to prepare and support the midwives here.  I thank the Hope Foundation for this immense work they have taken on and their commitment to the Rohingya women, and the UNFPA and all the other NGOs on the ground trying their best to make a difference.

I will leave you with some photos and stories from the last few days.  I wish I could describe all I saw – but it is too vast and overwhelming to even begin.  The suffering, the pain, the despair; but also connections, kindness, love, and laughter.  The Rohingya people amaze me in their resiliency and I often found myself wondering how I would react if I were in their situation – would I have the strength and courage to go on as they do?

day 6 burn
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasana                                   This child was discovered when Nabiha, an MD from Toronto, went tent to tent to check on people.  He was burned with the Myanmar Army burned down his house.
day 6 food line
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasana                                   A food line in one of the camps.  This shows only a tiny part of the line that seemed to stretch forever.  People wait for hours, sometimes all day, in the hot sun, just for a bit of food.
day 6 cesarean
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasana                                        This woman delivered in the HOPE Hospital due to complications with her labor.  One of the concerns for cesarean birth with the Rohingya women is the care they will receive after – the risk of sepsis due to the unsanitary living conditions and the extreme circumstances it will take just for them to get to their tents.  This woman spoke of the “Luting” Gang – not part of the military but she stated they were in conjunction with, and under orders of, the Myanmar military.  They would take women and strip them in front of the villages before gang raping them.  Many were forced to witness the murders of their husbands and sons first, many other woman were also killed.  Another woman spoke of this and her 12 day journey, 9 months pregnant, carrying her children.  Sometimes her feet were so raw and bloody she had to crawl.  I heard these stories over and over and each time I was overwhelmed with grief and shocked at humanity.  
day 6 2
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasan


day 6 registration
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasana                                        Just a small part of another long line – this one for registration into the camps.
day 6 photo
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasana


day 6 palpate
Photo Credit:  Danielle Villasana

I will leave you with this last photo which to me spoke of the strength and love of the people I saw.

boy and momma