The mother at my homestay, Wanpon, has been pregnant during my stay in the Village… and this past week she finally gave birth to her beautiful healthy third little boy – Veerapah! I was walking up to my homestay for dinner when I was greeted by her sister. As she served me my dinner, I didn’t think much of it until she was trying to tell me something in Pakinyaw. I didn’t understand at first, so she resorted to hand movements – big round belly and baby coming out and pointing into the distance. Then I got it! Wanpon had left for the hospital to give birth! I was so excited I jumped up and shared the news with a few passing volunteers. I cheerfully ate my dinner, pleasantly surprised that I was going to get the chance to meet the new born baby before leaving the village. Patiently, I waited three days until she returned.
The morning after her return, I went upstairs to meet the little man. I even got to hold him! He was so tiny and stared up at me like I was some sort of alien. Then, for a flickering moment, I received the sweetest little smile.
As I looked around, I noticed they had moved their home around to accommodate the new baby. They brought their wood fueled cooker upstairs into the kitchen and moved their sleeping area back into the main kitchen area. In this way, Wanpon will be able to still do what is needed without being too far from the baby or having to constantly have him attached to her. And I also learnt through observation that she doesn’t use diapers, or even “cloth diapers” for the matter. She simply wraps a sheet around him, and cleans these as required. This bit of knowledge gives some insight into why the younger kids love running around with no pants on … they spend the first bit of their lives without them until they are potty trained.
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