A few weeks ago we were visited by Cerafin, the director of the elementary school in Phiry. He had caught wind of our health campaigns in other schools and asked us to extend our resources and knowledge to his students. Although we do not yet have a promotora program in his community, we were excited by his enthusiasm and the opportunity to work with an additional school in our district.
Along with Pampallacta promotoras, Sonia and Escolastica (who live about twenty minutes from the school), we arranged to spend two days in Phiry. We educated the children about tooth brushing, basic hygiene, and nutrition, and we collected data on height, weight, and cavities. We also taught older students the basics of reproductive health.
Jack and Jody, dentists from Arizona, generously volunteered with us during their time in Ollantaytambo. Their expert participation allowed us to give full mouth exams to 57 children and to make the necessary referrals (amounting to 23) to the health post in Ollantaytambo.
The appreciation of the Phiry School community – teachers, mothers, and students – was clear. Following each of the two health days, we were beckoned to “siéntate” (“sit down”) and “sírvete” (“serve yourself”), and were handed heaping plates of food prepared by mothers who had offered their time.
Thanks to Cerafin’s initiative, the contributions of Jack and Jody, and the hard work of promotoras Sonia and Escolastica, we left Phiry with a request to return again soon – for a more in-depth reproductive health class for the school’s 5th and 6th graders, a first aid training for teachers, and yet another rico (delicious) lunch!
– Written by Harriet Napier