Overnight Visits in Marcuray and Rayan

As the rainy season begins, Sacred Valley Health/ Ayni Wasi staff members are making overnight stays in some the remote communities that we serve.  The overnights make a lot of sense logistically since wet, muddy roads make transportation a time-consuming challenge. The overnights also present an incredible opportunity to deepen our understanding of the communities in which we work.

Nurse Leticia and community coordinator Sarah help promotora Ignacia prepare for her presentation
Nurse Leticia and Community Coordinator Sarah help Promotora Ignacia prepare for her presentation

Earlier this week, I (Community Coordinator Sarah), was graciously welcomed into the homes of two of our newer promotoras, Ignacia and Valentina.  Early Monday morning, SVH nurse Leticia and I hiked up to Ignacia’s community of Marcuray for her first presentation at her community’s general assembly.  We arrived to find Ignacia’s home overflowing with energy, as her twin girls wrestled with their morning hair tangles, and their youngest, who is nearly three years old, marched around with her beloved teddy bear.  After reviewing the training materials on treating dog bites, the topic she was most eager to teach, Ignacia went up to the central meeting space to announce that day’s meeting.  Her voice was certainly heard, as nearly 30 people soon gathered.  It was a joy to witness Ignacia’s natural leadership as she taught fellow community members how to treat dog bites, which occur often here since so many dogs are trained to guard their families’ homes.

Promotora Ignacia teaching her community how to care for dog bites
Promotora Ignacia teaching her community how to care for dog bites

After a day of hard work, I was thrilled to prepare one of my favorite foods, guacamole, to go alongside the Peruvian staple food of potatoes for dinner at Ignacia’s home.  The combination was a big hit.  After some muña (Andean mint) mate and a small dance party with the little ones in the kitchen, we all headed to the nearby water source to brush our teeth together under the full moon.   After a great night’s sleep on the sheepskin bed Ignacia prepared for me, it was time to hike over the hillside to Rayan, where I found Valentina calling together another meeting on behalf of Ayni Wasi (the Quechua name under which Sacred Valley Health operates in Peru).

The women of Rayan gather to discuss health topics with Promotora Valentina
The women of Rayan gather to discuss health topics with Promotora Valentina

Even though Marcuray and Rayan are only a twenty minute walk apart, the differences between them are noticeable.  Rayan has approximately half the number of households and appeared far more spread out along a mountainside. It is a little further away from the main road and perhaps it is this added distance that has resulted in less health access.  In  Marcuray, 28% of households have chimneys, 83% have at least one toothbrush, and one household has a bathroom. In Rayan, on the other hand, only one household has a chimney, less than a third of households have at least one toothbrush, and no household has a bathroom.

Promotora Valentina discussing healthy pregnancy with the women of her community
Promotora Valentina discussing healthy pregnancy with the women of her community

Once the women of Rayan gathered, Promotora Valentina showed them the pamphlets on healthy pregnancy that she had received from the government clinic with which we partner.  Valentina gracefully facilitated the sharing of experiences and challenges related to health among these mothers, two of whom were breastfeeding during the meeting. It was clear that these women have a strong sense of solidarity with one another.

Sarah, Valentina and her family standing outside Valentina’s home in Rayan
Sarah, Valentina, and her family standing outside Valentina’s home in Rayan
Dusk at Ignacia’s home
Dusk at Ignacia’s home
Valentina herding her sheep
Valentina herding her sheep

Sulpayki (thank you) to our incredible promotoras for opening up their homes to the SVH family.  We are deeply grateful for their friendship and dedication to our programs.  Stay tuned to hear about our next overnight visits in Yanamayo and Kelccanka in December. In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving!

– Written by Sarah Phillips

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s