From the old church, our breath bright with hunger But between the woven bamboo door and the table, now heavy with bowls of fish-head soup and pork stew, Emilia, the village midwife, harasses us With a bowlful of many flowers floating on water. She decrees that all of us godparents cannot pass through unless we dip our hands into her rite of bowl and blossoms.
"Hunaw," she intones, "hunaw." Wash your hands, wash your hands.
And we throw in the green, orange and purple money bills into the bowl's womb, never knowing truly why, is it bail or fine, or paying for the radiance of water among the flowers picked right in the middle of day?
But folks say it is mostly to honor the midwife's work of bringing life out of wombs and never to honor or hone this small and quick act of godparenting, for godparents are always less than midwives -- unlike Emilia's hands, ours are bloodless in the cool and ivory fragrance of kalachuchi, hibiscus and purple orchids.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to eMagazine: Maternal Health .