Rural Birth Work

bdscn1009y Griet Vandamme

My name is Griet, a midwife from Belgium who spent 7 weeks working for Dar a Luz in Honduras.

I contacted Silvia whilst volunteering in another project in Guatemala. Within a month everything was arranged and I stepped out of the bus in La Ceiba, my first stop.

I am very grateful to Silvia for making it possible to do a lot of different things for Dar A Luz. I worked in a public city hospital as a doula in La Ceiba, I worked in the small mountain village Yarucca training local midwives. I also spent some time in a maternal-infant clinic and healthcare centre close to Copan Ruinás giving information to pregnant girls and women. In between I was able to explore the beautiful Honduras a little more.

But for me the most impressive experience was working and staying for two weeks in La Moskitia, Honduras’ tropical rainforest that also covers a part of Nicaragua. The Miskitos own this beautiful part of Honduras and with their own language Miskito and their cultural habits they try to make the best of their lives. There is no access to basic needs like electricity and running water. This part of Honduras can only be reached by taking a boatride after a long and adventurous ride in a jeep.

The village of Ibans has a centro de salud which became my home for 2 weeks. Continue reading

Thanks to Emily and Christianna!

Christianna and Emliy

Christianna,Doula and Nurse Midwife from the United States, and Emily, Doula from England.

Out of my heart a big thanks to you Christianna and Emliy! You came both at the same time! You did an amazing job!  It has been amazing to have you here! And I am looking forward to see you again! Thank you for supporting so many women in the hospital for participating in the childbirth educationc and supporting the seminar for respectful birth! Thanks for all your good ideas and deep understanding of the aims of the project!

Thanks to you Christanna for doing placenta models, preparing and holding an RCP for newborn workshop, for all the donations you brought along with you and you organized! Thanks to you Emily for supporting office work, and your wonderful initiative and ideas to support breastfeeding  in the hospital!

All the best wishes from Honduras!


Donations from Canada and Thank you Carmen!


Carmen and Silvia


Beautiful and much needed Donations

by Kristi Macaulay

Dar a Luz would like to extend a big thank you to Carmen Wiebe.
During her stay in Honduras, Carmen volunteered in two different hospitals supporting women in labour and delivery.  She also kindly helped with public relations and administration. Her assistance also extend prior to her stay in Honduras with the help and support of her community in Canada, where Carmen collected and donated  much needed items for use of Dar a Luz initiatives, including Canadian handmade and store bought baby clothes, as well as sewing kits for the Breast Feeding Pillow Project.

Some of my Experience

by Kate Furbush

I got to La Ceiba about a month ago, and I can’t believe how much I have learned since then. I came into this program as a nursing student without ever having seen a birth, only with an interest in women’s health and the desire to learn more. My first day in the hospital was a busy one, with about nine women in the labor room. I heard a whimper from behind a curtain and found a girl probably about my age crying quietly and sweating through her contractions. This was her first pregnancy and she was worried and in a lot of pain. Together we tried some breathing techniques and I stayed with her for a couple hours until she delivered, a healthy baby girl. I felt so humbled that I was able to share that moment with her, and proud of her because I saw how hard she worked to have her baby.

Despite a full labor room and a team of doctors and nurses, the women in Hospital Atlantida still often feel very alone during labor because family members are not allowed in and there is a lack of emotional support. Young girls sometimes think they will die from the pain, and often don’t have enough childbirth education or understanding of their own anatomy to understand what is happening to their body. Being afraid, lonely, and tense makes the pain of contractions even worse.

I feel very blessed to have had many other experiences since then with the women in the hospital. I have been there with girls as young as twelve and thirteen, and also with older women who are pregnant with their seventh or eighth child.

My time in Copan

by Alanah Roy

Alanah Roy in El Jarral

Alanah Roy in El Jarral

I arrived in Honduras in January, spending my first month based out of Copan Ruinas. There I lived with a wonderful family while trying to balance my work with the Spanish classes Silvia organized for me. Every day I would take a collectivo to the Materno-Infantil Clinica in nearby El Jaral for work. In Copan, women with the means to do so secure transportation to the larger hospitals of Santa Rosa or nearby Guatemala or occasionally have a private doctor. The vast majority of the women who come into this clinic are from impoverished villages in the mountains. Continue reading

Many Thanks!

by Nouf Bazaz

Silvia would like to thank Jenni Steinke, who returned to volunteer with Dar a Luz for a second time. Jenni is a labor and delivery nurse from the United States with considerable experience working in a hospital that specialized in high-risk pregnancies. Jenni spent two and a half months with Dar a Luz supporting and sharing her love with birthing women in La Ceiba.

Thank you to Donna Mitchell, a wonderful midwife Continue reading

Valle de Copan

by Emma Dorsey

Hogar Materno La Entrada

Hogar Materno La Entrada

This past week, we went to El Valle de Copan, where we visited four clinics in total. Thanks to a generous grant from the Muellers in Germany, we were able to bring education materials to each clinic, as well as to the ‘’hogares materno’’ or  ‘’mothers’ waiting centers.’’

For me,stepping out of La Ceiba was an opportunity to gain perspective on the work in the hospital here. I witnessed a beautifully-managed birth in Santa Rita de Copan that gave me hope for improving the conditions in the Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba. The clinicians at Atlantida tend to be younger and more experienced. In a sense, they are ‘’practicing’’ for their later work, which will likely be with private clients. This can be painful to watch, but I also find that many of these clinicians are more open to outside input than they might be later on in their careers. I hold onto my faith that the culture surrounding birth can be changed.

One night, I felt like I made a real impact on the birth of a woman named Zoe. Continue reading

Thanks to Carmen!

Carmen Barcelona

Carmen Barcelona

by Emma Dorsey

What a stroke of luck that Carmen Barcelona showed up at my door (or more accurately, Doña Dunia’s door)!  More than luck, it feels like fate.  Within a few minutes of her arrival, we realized that we live hardly a 20 minutes train ride from one another.  Not only that, I found out that she works for The Brooklyn Young Mothers’ Collective, an organization I have admired for a long time!

I first became interested in doula work when I attended a panel at the Barnard Center for Research on Women.  The panel was about the role of doulas as feminists, and representatives from The Doula Project,, and The Brooklyn Young Mothers´ Collective were present.  I immediately knew that this was work that I wanted to do.  I eventually joined The Doula Project, and underwent their additional training not long before heading down south.  My time in Honduras has been extremely important to me both personally and professionally, and it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that a doula from BYMC appeared down here, too.  It seems like a little nod from the world that I’m on the right path.

Besides all of this fate silliness, it was a total joy to have Carmen stay in Doña Dunia’s house with me.  The three of us had some sassy lady time together, eating baleadas and chatting.  I was also so pleased to be able to chat about all things birth and Brooklyn, and to meet your mom on her way through La Ceiba.  Carmen– your stay was too short!  I hope we can reconnect in Brooklyn.

by Silvia …. Thanks from my side too, Carmen for spending in two days over 18 hours in the hospital, it was wonderful to have your presence there!!!!