Health Practices in Guatemala

Everyday I am more amazed. We finished our stoves for the families today. We were so very welcomed and the community members were extremely grateful for our visit. They blessed us with a song and gave us beautiful lilies to show their thanks.

It was amazing to spend a day with a Mayan widowed mother.  It seemed every time I looked out of the doorway of the home I felt as if I were dreaming. It seemed to me as if I was looking at a National Geographic magazine instead of through my own eyes. The main reason the AMA has done a stove-building project is to decrease the amount of smoke inhaled by the families while they are cooking . Most families would use a campfire type of cooking on the floor of their living spaces. The black smoke fills the air and the families breathe all of this into their lungs. This causes many respiratory infections for all of the family members.

Now that the stove is in place, the chimney will carry all of the smoke outside of the home. Another issue that was addressed with the campfire style is the safety of the children. Many children would get to close or burned by the fire in the middle of the floor.

After we left the community we traveled to another nearby village and met a midwife. She explained to us the birthing traditions of the Mayan women. We were able to join her in her tamascale. The best way to describe this is to say that it is kind of like a sauna. We added eucalyptus to the steam and received a massage from the Mayan midwife. I was truly in heaven. The Mayans believe that this practice allows all of the toxins and bad energy  to leave the body and that warm positive relaxing energy takes its place. I felt amazing after my visit. This was hours ago and I still feel great.

Tomorrow is a day geared toward health screening. I am so exited to meet with the people once more. They have without a doubt found their way into my heart.

By Amy Gordon

Students at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden are spending their spring break on a service learning trip in Guatemala. Throughout the week, they will be blogging about their experiences.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Comments are closed.