This week has flown by so fast. It’s been one thing after another. Wednesday was my first official Charla (Health Talk). The whole day was a Women’s Health Fair at the Centro de Salud in Antigua where my group works. The fair had booths with health foods and offered free HIV tests, pap smears, orthodontists, pre-natal care, a beauty salon and more! A lot of the women that came have only been seen by a doctor once or twice in their lifetime. There was also an MC and music and yes, they played some Lady Gaga. It was loud and hectic all day but also a lot of fun. In the morning Kim, Mary and Melissa present their Charla on HIV to group of about 40 female jovenes (youth). They did a great job and I think the girls enjoyed it. In the afternoon Cathleen and I presented our Charla on Domestic Violence. They decided to move our Charla from the classroom to the main lobby area and they wanted us to use the microphone. Yikes! There were about 50 jovenes from another girl’s school in addition to the regular people waiting in the lobby area. It was an intimidating audience at first but the youth were very excited and wanted to participate which made our jobs easier. We played a dinamica (ice breaker), presented our objectives and then they divided into groups and had to match a cartoon of a type of domestic violence to the correct name and then discuss why. After about 10 minutes we came back together as a large group. We went over the cards and each type of violence and then had a more general discussion on why it happens and what to do if someone is the victim of Domestic Violence. All in all everything went really well for my first talk. I know I completely butchered some of my Spanish words but oh well. They thought it was funny because I’m a gringa.
On Friday I did my “Home Visits” with a health promoter. I went out with Dona Odilia in Jocotenango to visit a family and discuss healthy habits. She told me she never really does home visits so I was a little apprehensive. We ended up “visiting” 4 families but we didn’t really talk too much. She just asked them how many kids they have and if their kids are at the correct weight. It was actually surprising to see that pretty much all of the children were underweight. One of the girls looked about 3 years old because she was so small but her mom said she was 5! It’s crazy because these families live in a relatively healthy part of Guatemala. The campo, where my permanent site will be, is much less developed and health issues are much more prevalent and serious. Dona Odilia was great though and of course she asked me over for coffee after and kept filing up my cup and making me eat more and more pan dulce (not that I’m complaining!). Everyone here is so welcoming and kind.
Also this week we found out more about Field Based Training. On June 6th we will leave to go spend a week with some current Healthy Homes volunteers. There are 7 people in my group and I am psyched because I think we have the BEST group. We all have very vibrant personalities and I know we will have a lot of fun. We do however have one of the most rigorous schedules. We will travel to the Department (like a state) of San Marcos and the first few days we will be in a very small town named San Lorenzo. The second part of the week we will go visit a different volunteer in the town of Comitancillo. During the week we are all giving various Charlas. I am working with my Montana friend Lindsay on a Water and Trash talk and with Elizabeth on a talk about Acute Respiratory Infections. But the best part is that my group is doing a radio socio-drama on one of the local radio stations and my group wanted me to be the director and of course I couldn’t turn that down (hahaha). I am excited to get to see a different part of Guatemala. My group is going to one of the farthest places; the department borders Mexico to the north.
Cathleen and I giving our introduction to the group.
The youth and audience playing the ice breaker
More of our rockin´Domesic Violence Charla!
Melissa, Mary and Kim giving an HIV Charla