Our First Promotora Training in Patacancha (in 2013)

Last Friday, we arrived in the high-altitude town of Patacancha around 8:00 am and unloaded a gas stove, promotora incentives (basic food supplies), a CPR dummy, and our training materials. While the combi drove onwards and upwards to collect the other promotoras (some of whom had hiked 3 hours to meet the van at the nearby bridge, we set to work making chocolatada and setting up the posta for training.  As the promotoras arrived, we handed out chocolatada and freshly baked bread with a hint of anise. The promotoras ate while completing their pre- and post-tests and conversing outside the building, as a flock of sheep descended on us, herded by a young girl.

A flock of sheep descends upon the Patacancha promotora training center
A flock of sheep descends upon the Patacancha promotora training center

The morning training passed quickly with the promotoras demonstrating their skills and knowledge in previously taught topics, expertly securing and splinting ‘fractures’ on a dummy (Ruben, our driver), and performing CPR techniques for adults, children and babies. We split into small groups to discuss the promotoras‘ knowledge of disease prevention, symptoms, treatments and when to refer patients to the posta (such as when a community member has diarrhea, cough or symptoms of hypothermia). Displaying incredible eagerness to learn and convey their understanding of traditional methods for preventing and treating illnesses – such as drinking eucalyptus tea to aid cough recovery – it was truly an honour and a joy to work with them all.

A promotora (and baby) practice some of their newly-learned skills on a 'dummy'
A promotora (and baby) practice some of their newly-learned skills on a ‘dummy’

The highlight came at the end of training as the promotoras wrapped a traditional skirt around SVH Executive Director Keri and presented her with a home knitted scarf as a present, prompting a surge of clothing donations from the promotoras. Keri was transformed in a matter of minutes into traditional Andean dress, a positive display of the community’s respect and enthusiasm for SVH’s program!

Can you find SVH ED Keri Baker? With promotoras (and nurse Leticia + combi driver/Quechua translator Ruben)
Can you find SVH ED Keri Baker? With promotoras (and nurse Leticia + combi driver/Quechua translator Ruben)

 Written by SVH Community Coordinator Rose Nichol

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