Apprenticeships

***NOTE!*** Due to my recent retirement from my other Job in November 2005, I will possibly be making some changes in my life, which may affect apprenticeships. I will be visiting the Philippines in April, to explore Midwifery possibilities as well as retirement locations. ALSO, My Tijuana Midwife friend Angelica has made me aware of a possible opportunity to work as a Midwife in San Quintin, Baja California with the indigenous population doing home births. Most of the indigenous population in San Quintin have IMSS health insurance, but do not like to birth in the local IMSS hospital, so they have pushed their local leaders to find an experience Midwife to do home births for these people. It is said that there are an average of 10 births a day in San Quintin. I have a meeting scheduled with their leader at the end of April, so I will know more about this opportunity. If I get this position, this could vastly expand the apprenticeship needs with such a volume of births within this community. I should know more about both of these things by early May of this year. Jerry

Information about requirements, location, conditions, etc.

Location:

El Niño, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Tijuana is a large city of more then 3 million people, located about 20 miles South of San Diego, California. I serve mostly poor women in about 8 Colonias (Communities) within Tijuana. I currently attend about 100 births per year.

This is a clinical site only. My requirements are:

Your responsibilities are:

Saturday is my day to do prenatal visits in Tijuana and you will be going with me so that you can learn where all of my moms live. I only do prenatal visits on Saturdays, because I have another job that I work at during the week to support my family. Doing Midwifery in Mexico is VERY rewarding, but it does not pay my bills! I currently charge $500 Pesos (about $46.50 US Dollars) You will live in the extra bedroom of my El Niño, Tijuana house and respond to all labor calls, labor sit and call me when a mom becomes active. We will do the birth together, and when I feel that you are ready, you will do the catch and I will oversee the birth.

As is typical with most apprenticeships, I neither charge for the experience that you will get or pay for the work that you do. I am a type 3 NARM preceptor, per NARM's standards, for those looking for NARM certifiable experience. This is a very good opportunity for someone to get great home birth experience, without occurring the expenses of a birthing clinic such as the El Paso clinic's which charge $1500 a month for about the same amount of births.

Apprenticeships will be 6 weeks minimum, because of the time needed to learn where all of my moms live. In Tijuana, there are many new and poor areas, and these are where the majority of my moms live. There are no street signs or house numbers in these new areas, so an Apprentice MUST learn how to drive to an in labor mom from hand made maps or from memory, using Symbols (Turn left at the Green corner house, etc.). It will take most people about 3 Saturdays to learn where my moms live, and then you will be able to give me about 3 weeks of real help, which is the trade off for the free learning. As soon as you learn where the moms who are soon due, you will be responsible for responding to their labor calls 24/7, assessing their labor, and calling me when necessary. You will be arriving first because you will be 1 to 40 minutes from their homes, and I live a minimum of a 2 hour drive from Tijuana.

The maximum time for an Apprenticeship would depend on your needs and finances, and your Prenatal and Birth number requirements. You are welcome to stay as long as you want, providing that I do not have another apprentice waiting.

I do not have a set of standards for a person that wants to help and get experience. In-depth labor and birth experience are not necessary. What I want to see is your general enthusiasm, and desire to be around pregnant and birthing women AND your adaptability and respect for their culture, birth desires and Language. As this apprenticeship page states, this is a give and take relationship. I need the help and you get the experience. I urge you to learn as much Spanish as you can, because your ability to communicate in their language will greatly enhance your experience and knowledge gain while in Mexico.

Our American money is excepted everywhere in Tijuana because it is a border city, so you do not need to exchange your money. I would recommend that anyone coming to live in El Niño have a minimum of $100 cash with them at all times, because El Niño is a somewhat rural place and there are no ATM's or banks for miles. If you have car trouble, you better have some money in your pocket to take care of business. Credit/debit cards are worthless in rural areas. Flat tires are fairly common because of the dirt roads and cash is the only thing that will get you out of trouble and back on the road again.

Living costs in El Niño are similar to costs in Southern California, except for the following things. Fish and meat are cheaper in Tijuana. Most prepared food prepared at local stands are cheaper in Tijuana. Cellular phone service is sometimes more expensive, depends on your carrier. Cingular, Verizon, and NexTel will work on both sides. Gasoline in Tijuana is presently about $6.05 Pesos a Liter which is about $2.17 (US) a Gallon. If there is anything that you cannot find in Tijuana, you can always drive across the border, and buy it in the San Diego Area. The drive is about 40 minutes to the border.

The El Niño climate can range from a few winter nights dipping into the low 40°F. to many summer days being over 100°F. For summer relief, there are beautiful sandy beaches about 20 miles West of El Niño in both the Tijuana and San Diego areas.

You will be sharing my El Niño, Tijuana house (above photo) with a young couple with 3 small children, all born at home with me. My Tijuana house is in the Colonia of El Niño, a semi rural place, about 5 years old, with a population of about 3000 almost all low income people, and about 15 miles East of the original downtown area of Tijuana. Below is a photo of the Colonia of El Niño, a place where I have delivered more then 130 babies! Can you say that about your community? Email me if you are interested in furthering your Midwifery knowledge, and helping these poor, sweet moms. I have created the "Coming Events" page for my apprentices so that they could see who they would be caring for. Click on Coming Events to see who will be due during your stay in El Niño.

While ALL pregnant women want to have an easy birth and a healthy baby, Mexican women are different in many ways about their birth customs and what they see as a better birth. American pregnant women are surrounded by technology on a daily basis and usually choose to have a home birth with little or no interventions during their labor and birth. Most poor Mexican women look at a home birth as something for the poor, and are more excepting of a home birth when their provider offers interventions which will shorten their labor and offer a cleaner birth. Most Mexican families are also more excepting of a home birth when they hear that I offer these interventions during labor. So as an apprentice, you will see interventions done at most of these Mexican home births. I will expect you to be respectful of their birth desires and customs. As an apprentice, you have come to learn, and not apply your US values and ways to these Mexican women. Because I have had past apprentices that thought their way was best for my Mexican clients, I will be admonishing you to not try and change their world, but learn from it.

A past apprentice. Her notes and stories.

Another past apprentice

Notes to future apprentices from a past apprentice.

 

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