The Mama's

This week I have the pleasure of working night shift. And I will try my hardest not to turn into dragon lady. It is not natural to stay up all night and sleep during the day... therefore I get a bit cranky. Sorry-o Tyrone.

On my night shifts I have 10 patients, alot of them under the age of 3. I have 2 kids that had their palate repaired and are just miserable. Their poor mama's. These babies are totally inconsolable and refuse to be put down. My friends Jennifer (in Tyler) would have to sleep in  a rocking chair when her baby was sick. These mamas have their babies strapped to their backs in a lapa (a piece of fabric tied around the waste to hold the baby to the mam's back). When the baby finally falls asleep the mama will lay down on her stomach with the baby still strapped to her back. When the baby wakes up, which they are bound to do (very frequently and very loudly) the mama gets up and bounces them back to sleep.

These babies also hate to eat. Their mama's force feed them the Pediasure  and cereal while they scream. I am always afraid the food will go down the wrong pipe and they will aspirate, but it is impossible to get them to eat otherwise, and these mama's are VERY insistent that the force feeding should happen through out the night. Of course this causes the rest of the babies to join in on the screaming and it becomes the cool thing to do.

At 5 am the mama's wake up their peacefully sleeping child to bathe them, not sure why 5am is the chosen hour, but it is very popular. All of the babies and children are bathed and lots of screaming fills the ward.

The parenting is very different here. Sometimes we are shocked by what the parents do and often we have to tell them "You can not beat your child here."  But most of the mama's we have on the ward now are from Sierra Leone and are very attentive and loving to their children. I am not saying the Liberian Mama's don't love their kids they just show it differently.