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.