And now, what can we do?

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SVH head nurse Leticia and her son David in front of their own cornfield.

As Sacred Valley Health transitions into 2014, it is a great time to reflect on our work over the past year.  We successfully expanded into 10 new communities, trained  20 community health workers (promotoras), provided health campaigns in 20 schools, initiated new partnerships and implemented a more systematic way of assessing our communities’ needs.  However, when it comes to what we are most proud of, “SVH by the numbers” falls short.  SVH has an amazing team.

SVH head nurse Leticia at a school health campaign in November
SVH head nurse Leticia at a school health campaign in November

Just as the heart beats life throughout the human body, SVH head nurse Leticia Huanca is at the core of our work here in the Sacred Valley. She accompanies all of us every day.  Whether she is visiting a community alongside community coordinators, teaching at our tri-monthly trainings or offering programmatic support to SVH leadership, she is a source of energy, joy and inspiration.

Promotora Silvia showing Leticia her flower garden
Promotora Silvia showing Leticia her flower garden

No challenge is too daunting for Leticia.  She always begins her problem solving process with, “Y ahora, que hacemos?” (and now, what can we do?). Her optimistic, practical disposition empowers our team to face challenges thoughtfully and imaginatively.

Leticia prepares Promotora Matilde for a presentation at her general assembly
Leticia prepares Promotora Matilde for a presentation at her general assembly

Leticia not only has a profound understanding of the people in the Ollantaytambo District, but also of local plants and herbs.  She is our chief source of knowledge for incorporating natural medicines into our curriculum.  Walking through the countryside with Leticia is like walking through a pharmacy, but much greener, cheaper and healthier.  Our promotoras light up when Leticia demonstrates how to prepare natural remedies.

Leticia picking Capuli, a local berry packed with iodine
Leticia picking Capuli, a local berry packed with iodine

When asked what her goals are for SVH in the new year, she replied, “The promotoras have to fight for the health of all community members. I want to reach the point where these promotoras act independently to apply what I am teaching to their community. This is what I want to achieve. The people who live in these communities are my family. They are the same as me. My concern is to see them all healthy – the children, adults, the elderly. My life is to think of them.”

Coordinator Elly and Leticia reviewing the promotora contract with Griselda
Coordinator Elly and Leticia reviewing the promotora contract with Griselda
SVH Holiday Dinner 2013
SVH Holiday Dinner 2013

Thank you for supporting the humble, passionate, determined work of Leticia and the rest of the SVH team this holiday season. Together we are empowering our promotoras to improve health in underserved communities of Peru’s Sacred Valley. Until December 31, your donations will be matched by the Hope for Poor Children Foundation  — please donate here to double your impact today!

Written by Community Coordinator Sarah Phillips  

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