Friday, December 2, 2011

sitting on the porch

sitting on the porch
behind the motorcycle,
listening to cooing doves

After the wedding, we stop at a small store owned by a woman who greets Robin effusively. Robin says the store owner was responsible for her becoming a midwife. As we walk down the main north-south street of Nyuh Kuning, she recounts the long story of how this came about. Between more greetings, she actually manages to get all the way through the story before we arrive at another family compound. 
          This is the short version. Robin was attending the birth of the store owner's baby. The mother was gushing blood because the baby had a detached placenta. Robin broke into a locked clinic for Pitosin to stop the bleeding. The baby came out holding its placenta, its birth angel, and both the baby and the mother survived.
          The second family compound has spacious grounds and new concrete block buildings with plain wooden doors and big glass windows that look more Japanese than Balinese. About a dozen family members are sitting along the edge of the porch, behind a fancy motorcycle. We take off our shoes and add them to the collection below the bottom step before joining the family. While Robin chats in Bahasa, I listen to the beautiful sounds and rhythm of this language, mixed with the plaintive cooing of a pair of doves in a cage. Robin "caught" many of these children and she is delighted to hear how they're doing. When we leave, they give Robin an enormous custard apple, which looks like a spiked chartreuse football.
          We stop at Robin's house to get some stuff out of storage above the kitchen. It's all mildewed. A chartreuse lizard falls from the roof onto my arm and I don't even let out a peep. I put it on some rocks where it lurks, changing to dark brown in minutes.

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