“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” This inspiring quote kept coming to the forefront of my mind during the MFK nurse’s education day on December 5th. Eighteen nurses, most traveling for hours to attend, came together for discussion, learning, and comradery. They arrived early, eager to learn. We gathered in the conference room of the MFK factory, and each nurse introduced themselves, and the clinic where she works.
Then the real work began with a surprise pop quiz! The giggles and groans that came with its announcement is a reaction that must be universal, but our Haitian nurse educators, Roudelyne and Magdalla, were quick to assure them that it wasn’t to be formally graded, nor excessively difficult. Rather, it was a tool to gauge the information the nurses were already working with and the effectiveness of the training upon completion.
With PowerPoints, model dolls, and plastic food on a giant “eat well” plate, we reviewed the protocol for the home-based treatment of childhood malnutrition and the proper techniques for weighing and measuring some of Haiti’s smallest and most fragile children. We talked about micronutrients, macronutrients, vitamins, and antibiotics. The breadth of the subject matter never ceased to amaze me and can make for a potentially dense lecture. But, the nurse’s care and passion for this important work comes through and made the day more fun than I could have imagined.
Questions were asked and thoughtfully discussed and answered. There was joking, role playing, and through it all, there was laughter. This is the magic and pleasure that is learning. I imagine at times, alone at a remote clinic, far from the busy streets of Cap-Haitien, the task of guiding so many families through the treatment protocol is one that must overwhelm. Days like this are so important, not just for the knowledge that is shared, but also for the sense of community that is fostered. It is our way of saying to the nurses of Haiti that the work they do is so important. And that they are not doing it alone.