Midwife Alex Campbell is Irish and describes ni-Vanuatu culture of crying over the loss of a loved one as a lot better than in her country saying it is a healthy way to grieve whereas in her country, men seem even embarrassed to cry.
The young midwife is on a month of attachment at Vila Central Hospital Maternity Ward and says crying over the loss of a loved one is important to release emotion, to let go of sorrow.
She admits not knowing anything about Vanuatu until she travelled to work in New Zealand as a midwife four years ago.
“I met some amazing midwives who were coming to Vanuatu and I joined them on a month visa," she says with her knockout smile.
She finds mothers in labour “more challenging” than she thought but that it is rewarding for her both professionally and socially.
“As a midwife I meet my patients in the ward but I know nothing of their life and so it is an honour to be invited by one of them to her home to meet her family and share a meal with them.
"It has allowed me to kind of farewell her at her door and this is satisfying," she says.
Asked to describe how she has been able to go from her industrialised society down to grass root level, she replies, “I don’t think I’ve gone down at all but entered a different environment and one thing I’ve learned as a midwife is to adapt because you want to give the patient that you look after the best care."
‘Alex’ as she prefers to be called says the amount of hard work and dedication she has seen from the doctors, midwives, nurses and nurse aids in the maternity ward is really fantastic and she feels really honoured to work with them.
She is returning to New Zealand at the end of the month.