Wabash Blogs Health Care in Chiapas

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A great, but long day

A woman and her three boys.  Her outfit is common of this particular group of indigenous Chiapanecos from around Zinacantan I think.  

Today was much different from the last two weeks. I got to spend about 8 hours working in a small village about 45 minutes away from San Cristobal. I believe its name was Navenchauc. I may have mentioned before that the culture here is saturated with indigenous influences. Chiapas is the only state in Mexico where over 50% of the population identifies as indigenous. The people in this community largely spoke a Mayan dialect called Tzotzil. I knew three words in the language and somehow managed to use them all. I got a friendly grin when I was combining them with the Spanish I was speaking. It was amazing. By some fortune, with the connections I am making here, I was able to travel with a volunteer group of United States citizens providing international medical assistance. It appears that they worked with the government to augment support for one day in each community surrounding San Cristobal. They aren’t here for as long as I will be, but I will probably get to spend the rest of the week with them. I was happy to be able to use my Spanish to help. I usually had to go through a Spanish to Tzotil translator as well, so it became a bit of a puzzle to find out how people were hurting or what illnesses they were suffering from. I covered some history and basic questions with probably 100 people throughout the day. This isn’t something regular in the area, so we were a bit of a spectacle and more than 300 people probably got in line to see the docs. Just to give you an idea of what children experience here, especially under 6-7 years old: Often symptoms include loss of appetite, head colds, fevers, and diarrhea. I don’t think the people understand how important water is to their health. I tried to tell that to as many people as would understand me. Usually the cause of a lot of these problems is intestinal parasites. I’m wishing I had taken parisitology right about now…haha. I got to take some pictures finally, but they aren’t the best quality. I promise to get some more. I might be taking some patients blood pressures tomorrow, so that will be something new and exciting. I am still desperately waiting to see how the MCAT went. Scores were supposed to be released today at 5 pm, but so much for that. Look forward to more updates later this week!

Some info on the wall at the clinic tries to warn parents how to care for diarrhea in their children or of precautions to take during pregnancy, among other things.  

The group's makeshift pharmacy and people waiting for prescriptions.


It sounds as if you are making the experiences of a lifetime! Good Luck for your remaining time!