Friday, April 10, 2009

We've MOVED!

See you there!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I thought it would be fun to show you all a few of the crazy bugs we've encountered here. Without further ado...

This bad boy is called La Madre de Alacrán (which means The Mother of Scorpion). They're harmless and only come out at night but get pretty big - this one was about the size of my pinky.

Giant grasshopper. About the size of Sarah's hand...

Kittens! Their mama, Fuscia, just gave birth to them about 3-4 weeks ago. They are adorable.

A "muestra" of our work

muestra = sample

Here's a workshop that Sarah gave today. The 3-hour workshop was about the sanitation and hygiene before, during, and after the birth: How to avoid infections, when/where to cut the cord, stuff like that. The health center holds these workshops for the comadronas (midwives) every other month to review the information - basically to standardize hygienic practices to lower the rate of infant/mother mortality. The pregnant women often do not seek professional medical help due to lack of access and/or cultural beliefs so the midwives may be the only medical intervention that happens in the villages.

(Thanks to Emily Crawford for the materials)

First short video of Sarah! This is at the beginning of the charla - don't forget, there's sound!

Sarah and Señora Flor

"How to cut the Umbilical Cord"

"The three clean things":
Clean hands
Clean place of birth
Sterilized tools

"Things to watch out for with the Placenta"
Try to make sure that the membranes are complete.
You could imagine them as if they form a bag.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Así es la vida

Lately, we’ve been a little quiet about what we’re doing. I happily report that it is due to being somewhat busy. That’s right, busy, I said it. As Mat wrote, we had some additional training a few weeks ago, including an HIV/AIDS workshop that four people from our Centro de Salud attended. Ever since coming back to site, we have had so much support from the Centro. I think they finally “get” what it is we do and how we can be utilized.

So right now we are planning, planning, planning. We are teaming up with the Centro’s Healthy Adolescents program and will work with the four schools in the urban (I use this term loosely) area on Mental and Sexual Health Education. We are also working with the Ministry of Education and Centro’s Healthy Schools program as educators in any of the 21 healthy schools in the muni that want/need help giving health charlas, concentrating on hygiene.

This past Tuesday, we presented a plan for training every micro-region of the muni on HIV/AIDS to the development committee for the community, called the COMUDE. The micro-regions split the 60 communities into 12 groups. We plan to have 1 or 2 trainings per month until we get through all twelve micro-regions. Leaders of the community, women’s groups, or anyone interested would be encouraged to attend. Unveiling the plan to all of the leaders was a bit nerve wracking due to the subject matter. There was a statistic in the presentation, 75% of the cases in Guatemala are passed between heterosexuals. When I came to this part, I defined heterosexual. Then I went on to say that when discussing HIV/AIDS, people have to get rid of their stereotypes relating to it, including that it is an illness only passed between homosexuals. When I dropped that bomb, there were several gasps and many mouths dropped. I really enjoyed myself.

Finally, the biggest project will be the recruitment and training of Health Promoters. Health Promoters are people who would do what we do: give health charlas based on the needs of the community. And since they would already be members of the community and speak “el dialecto” (the Mayan language K’iché), they would be better able to deliver the information. This is the part of the project that Mat and I believe is most sustainable and worthwhile, and we are therefore both nervous and excited for it.

The computers are no longer the pipe dream they once were either. Thanks to all of our amazing family and friends, we will be able to reach the goal of 10 computers and maybe even have enough left over to buy a projector, making training the Centro’s staff and eventually the youth easier. We are so grateful to you all!

Other random stuff: I hope to get a weekly women’s health group going at the Centro for the women of the “urban” area. I was also recently elected to be our program’s (Rural Home Preventative Health) project representative for the Peace Corps’ Gender and Development Committee (GAD). Basically I am the go-to-gal for the people in my program for gender related charlas. It also involves doing some training and helping out with fundraising. And Mat already mentioned that he is our department’s rep on VAC. Go extra-circulars!

For you cat lovers out there, one of the cats that hangs out at our house, Fusia, just had three kittens. They are adorable but I bet they already have fleas. I will try to snag fotos when they are a little bigger. Besides that we are baking and sharing the goodies with friends and neighbors. Pretty good way to exchange culture! Lemon Bars and Brownies are a big hit.