All posts filed under: History

My Uncle, My Inspiration

We’re on a long road, navigating low hills and wet fields, when I finally hear my beloved uncle’s story. The end of the road is Luang Prabang for a business trip. With my life in Laos coming to a close and acceptance finally hitting me, my emotions decide to dance erratically between an Olympic sprint and some major marathon. Upheaval and migration does that, I guess. Three years of turbulence and injustice gush out of me, pouring out in a sloppy, slushy rant. My uncle continues to drive. He stays quiet for a time before turning to me and, with a steady look, begins to tell me about his humble beginnings. “Listen kid, you ain’t got it so bad and you’re going to realize that one day.” Those simple words coupled with that calm gaze of his settles my electric youth down, immediately. “I was born down south, the second son to a Jek (Chinese) mother and a Keo (Vietnamese) father. They were dirt poor immigrants who came here with nothing. My dad somehow got …

Maternal Health Care: A Midwife’s Tale

This is the second part in a series exploring the profession of a midwife and their value at birth. You can find more information about the profession and the first piece here. The phone rings, rousing her from a slumber. On the other end of the line, a pregnant woman is deep in the throes of labour. It’s the height of the night. But as the new mother is about to discover, babies have no regard for schedules. The rhythm and regularity of her contractions suggests that birth is imminent. The freshly woken woman heads out to attend the delivery. For Bounmy Inthavong, it’s just another day on the job. Bounmy is a midwife practicing in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Though she’s been catching babies since 2015, her interest in women’s health has been a lifelong passion. The daughter of Lao refugees, she discovered the value of patient-centered care at an early age. “My brother and I were born in refugee camps. My dad had to deliver us because the births went so fast and crazy. My …