This week, SVH/ Ayni Wasi welcomes a group of nursing, pre-med, and Spanish students from SUNY Brockport in upstate New York. The Brockport students and professors are conducting health education campaigns in partnership with our promotoras (community health workers) in the mountain communities of T’astayoc, Rumira Sondormayo, and Huilloc. They will also participate in a health education campaign in Ollantaytambo proper, where we are headquartered.
So what’s the focus of these education campaigns? The SUNY group designed stations for eight different health topics, ranging from proper hand-washing and tooth-brushing techniques to preventing home smoke contamination. (Many homes do not have chimneys, and people cook over open fires.) All stations inspired community members’ enthusiasm during the first two campaign days—the community president of T’astayoc came away greatly pleased with the visitors’ knowledge and generosity in sharing their skills with his community. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, the reproductive health stations drew the largest crowds.
“An older man that attended our [male sexual health] station had been unfamiliar with condoms. But by the end of the presentation he wanted to take home samples so he could teach his sons how to use them,” said Kari Sheridan, a SUNY Brockport nursing student.
Docente (mentor) promotora Fanny told me she was thrilled to see her neighbors gathered in the community’s multipurpose room engaging with varied health topics. “Me alegro verlo,” she said. I am happy to see it.
–Written by Courtney Weintraub