On Thursday, the Sacred Valley Health staff climbed into our driver Ruben’s van (called a combi here) and made the gorgeous trek up to the community of Patacancha, where we held a day of promotora training on the topic of nutrition.
We took a winding route to Patacancha, since we needed to pick up several of our promotoras (community health workers) on the way. Patacancha is situated 16 kilometres from Ollantaytambo and it is even further away for promotoras such as Sonia and Escolastica who come from Pampallacta. After picking everyone up, we headed to the Patacancha posta (government outpost clinic) for the training session. At the posta, we served a breakfast of bread, banana, and warm chocolatada (a chocolate oatmeal drink) before beginning the training at 9:45.
The training was led by Community Coordinator Stewart, on the final day of his six month internship at Sacred Valley Health. The agenda for the training focused on the importance of a balanced diet and micronutrients. We emphasized the need for high nutrient foods, especially fruits and vegetables, and how to plan meals that promote energy, strength, and growth. Adding fruits and vegetables is especially key since the local diet consists mostly of rice, potatoes, and pasta. The promotoras participated in interactive activities that kept everyone engaged and moving around the room.
Since it was his last training, Stewart received a great send-off, including guitar play and dancing. The promotoras arranged for promotor Gabriel’s son to come and play guitar and get the dancing started. After dancing and eating a hearty lunch of lentils and salad, the training session came to a close. Sacred Valley Health community coordinators spoke with each promotora about plans for the upcoming month, including the upcoming promotora presentations in each community we serve.