Promoting health literacy

“My father died a few months ago of a headache,” reports a middle-aged woman, looking past me. She was responding to a question on our survey, which is designed to provide us with baseline information about our new communities. “He just complained of head pain and then died?” I asked Escolastica, who was translating the…

The right guidance

As the director of programming, I’m often found in the office guiding the development of the promotora (community health worker) education curriculum. I love my job because I have the opportunity to provide the promotoras the tools they need to improve health outcomes, but I’m often a bit jealous of our volunteers who spend the…

Translation – it’s more than linguistic

In a previous post, we discussed the inception of Quechua lessons at SVH. Quechua is spoken by more than 6 million people in Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia. It is the dominant language and culture in the Cuzco region where we work. The goal of Quechua study is not only for our non-Peruvian staff to learn the local…

It’s Quechua to me

Noqac wasaymi nisuta nnanan. Imatan ruwayman? You probably recognize that the above isn’t Spanish. But it’s also not a scrambled line from a Dr. Seuss book, nor is it a backmasked Grateful Dead track. In fact, it’s one of the more common questions we hear during house visits in the Quechua-speaking communities we support: “My…

What’s the word?

“How did you spread the news about our health campaign?” asked one of the SUNY Brockport volunteers that came to Peru two weeks ago. I smiled and said, “Well, by foot.” Communication can be challenging in the communities we serve. Many promotoras and their neighbors don’t have cell phones, nor do their communities have cell phone…