#DOULADIARIES A letter to Hillbrow

Dear Hillbrow,

How many times have I walked under your trees, chatted on your street corners and worked in your maternity clinic?

The smell of vetkoek and mielies that is being sold at the gate, the Halls and the R1 Nic Nack packets I buy religiously and my loose draw before I go home after a long day in your underbelly.

The first light, the spring in your trees, the wind blowing through your streets, the laughter of children in the apartments right next to the MOU and the rain that kisses your forehead after a long day of being strong.

The way I love you and absolutely hate you. The love when I feel when I see the smiles on people’s faces and the dreams in the 16-year old’s eyes even though she just had a baby. The way compassion is shown, and how people will share the little bit that they have.

The hate I feel for you as I watch another baby takes their last breath, times in a hurry when I can’t find a cord clamp, the times I have to dry the tears off a mother’s cheeks and the times I hopelessly watch the truck being offloaded and we still not getting supplies.

I look after you the same way you look after me. You made me believe in hope and love again. You feed my soul on a weekly basis. The strange comfort I have felt crying under your trees when life just doesn’t want to work out. And I look after your people and your clinic with fierce passion and love. I care for you like a mother cares for a child. But you always leave me with a little doubt- what if the ambulance does not come, what if we never receive supplies again, what if things do not work out.

Today you just made me cry. Because it feels like no matter how hard all of us try we are not going to weather this storm. I could see today that we are not okay. That now we have reached a crisis point. A point of no return. Like a big ship that knows that they are going to hit the iceberg.

But, I will not leave you, even though my heart is broken right now.

And I realize that I must just keep the faith alive for all of us at the clinic. Because at this moment we only have each other and our beliefs.

See you tomorrow Hillbrow…


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