Community engagement in Patacancha and Huilloc

Saturday May 4th was a busy day for general assemblies in the communities that Sacred Valley Health serves. Stewart and I (Harriet) began our morning around 8:30 outside the Patacancha Salón Communal, prepping community health worker (promotora) Victoria for her presentation. We had only an hour to complete this presentation with Victoria and make it back down the mountain in time for the Huilloc General Assembly.

We were lucky to be included at the beginning of the agenda (thanks to a supportive and enthusiastic Secretary), and Victoria’s presentation of how to treat Stewart’s Sharpie-d head wound was well received by the crowd. Stewart’s life saved, we began to pack up our supplies. However, we were drawn into an in-depth conversation with the community’s junta directiva. Apparently, Victoria’s skills were so impressive that one member of the board felt that someone from every household should be trained in such capacities. How, he asked, could we collaborate to train the whole community?

Victoria carefully wraps Stewart's head wound.
Victoria carefully wraps Stewart’s head wound.

An extended conversation ensued, with the entire community involved, about how and when the promotores could teach their skills to individual community members. The enthusiasm of the Patacancha community and its leaders was well timed, since our May trainings will emphasize the promotores’ involvement in educating their communities. We left the General Assembly in a rush, but not without setting the date for a meeting with SVH staff and the Patacancha junta directiva.

Patacancha General Assembly and Junta Directiva.
Patacancha General Assembly and Junta Directiva.

We arrived in Huilloc just in time to meet Santusa and Teresa before the General Assembly there. This was our first General Assembly presentation in Huilloc and again we were scheduled within the first fifteen minutes. Stewart (who appears to be quite accident-prone and in poor health) immediately choked on his food and soon afterwards suffered a heart attack. In front of a very attentive community, Santusa and Teresa quickly came to the rescue and proved themselves capable of addressing the situation and explaining what should be done when this kind of emergency happens in real life.

After Saturday’s General Assemblies, we felt confident that both Patacancha and Huilloc were left with a new appreciation of the abilities of their promotores and of the community benefits to come.

– Written by Harriet Napier

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