Written by Nadia Daniels-Moehle
So much has happened at Grace Community Birth Center in the last few months, new honey from beehives, connecting with the community, planting peanuts, well received sex-ed classes, and, of course, births. Ninotte Lubin, CPM shared updates about the amazing things GCBC has been up to.
At the beginning of the year GCBC hosted meetings between healthcare providers and community leaders. “We got to share the full spectrum of the project. Everyone is excited to participate as we have our own education center,” Ninotte said. The Presbyterian Church of Traverse City, Michigan funded the “Education Center” which was built in 2017.
While preparing for one of these meetings, on January 31, they noticed that a pregnant and nearly due neighbor presented symptoms of pre-eclampsia. Ninotte promptly sent her to the hospital. “Later the same day she had a c-section with surprise twins.” Ninotte almost certainly saved the life of this woman and her babies!
“As you can see in the pictures, the twins are growing and looking healthy (a boy and a girl) and exclusively breastfeeding. These people are so grateful to have GCBC in the community.”
Grace Community Birth Center’s 25 beehives have been fruitful. “We did a honey harvest where we shared with some people in the community and some potential clients. We were able to make around $100 from the honey. The next harvest will be sold as we plan ahead.”
Ninotte has been working with women in the community, facilitating ways for them to connect. “On March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day with the women’s group in the community. We had a special guest, Florcy L Tyrel, and we had a great time together thinking about how we, as women, can rebuild the community to make it a better place for our children.
GCBC’s sex education classes have begun; they take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Having three different classes is beneficial. “With fewer people in each class it is more enjoyable and fun to teach and learn. It’s great so far.” Ninotte continues to reach out, hoping to include more young people in the sex ed classes. “I was invited to a couple other neighborhoods to motivate some more to come. The boys got excited. Next week we will definitely have more of them.”
On March 26, community members helped GCBC plant peanuts, “We had some men to dig holes and women adding the peanuts and covering them. It was great.”
“We are expecting to start a peanut butter project with the women in the community.” The peanuts are scheduled to be harvested sometime in July and August.
In April, Ninotte was very excited to welcome Kathi and Craig Mulder to Haiti. “I feel so good that, finally, a couple of GCBC board members, supporters (especially from Traverse City) are coming to witness the progress of what we have made together. I can’t wait for them to land.”
“It was such a gift to see all that Ninotte is doing and to meet the Grand Bassin community,” Kathi reflected on their time in Haiti. “When we met with some of the community leaders and health care workers they voiced the need for the women to have a safe, clean place to give birth with well trained midwives in attendance. We hope to break ground for the actual birth center sometime next year!”
Kathi and Craig arrived in Haiti with donated supplies, including kits from Days for Girls of Benzie County, Michigan. “Thanks to generous donations from several sources we were able to bring some much needed supplies. Days for Girls of Benzie County provided cloth menstrual kits for the girls attending the sexual education classes.” As Kathi explained, “the girls were grateful to receive these and would like to learn how to sew their own.”
Stay tuned for monthly updates from Grace Community Birth Center.