Friday, May 1, 2009

Thoughts on the DAY OF THE WORKER

The rains have begun in the afternoons, sometimes accompanied by wind. Before the Mayans used a banana leaf or small piece of plastic to prevent being soaked. Now you see more umbrellas and people riding in small three wheel taxis up to the clinic. Times have changed. When we came in 1966 there were less than 10 cars in town;now there are more than 200. Cell phones are very common, even for the poor. They are also a safety issue too as violence is an issue and communication is very important to all. Education is much more accessible though there are still many communities that do not have access to highschool because of poverty or no school nearby. Asuncion, a parish highschool started by our Mission has enabled hundreds to graduate from highschool that otherwise would not have had the opportunity. Weekend college classes of social work and other careers at Asuncion is providing more opportunities. Our Health and Education projects are not meant to be a solution for these responsibilities of the government but rather to supplement the needs of the pooor with these basic rights. Progress is slow but change is possible and it is happening.

Today is the day of the WORKER so there are marches and schools, banks and other businesses are closed for the day. Our Doctor took his holiday but other workers will choose another day and so we are open for business as usual. It is quieter though so time to celebrate the day with cake and a juice drink.

A frequent diagnosis now is Diabetes. This is new for the Mayan population and is a health challenge for us. We have hundreds of cases diagnosed now and we have started a monthly Diabetic Club. We are fortunate to have a Nutritionist from pastor health of the diocese here to assist us in providing classes. Diet change is difficult for these people. The childrenare weaned off the breast to sweetened coffee. Bananas grow to shade the coffee trees and are readily available and when in access contribute to the high sugars. Corn tortillas also have to be limited and a more varied diet is required to control their sugar levels. The extreme poverty sometimes does not allow for many diet changes. Taking medicine for a chronic disease is also new to them so some patients stop their medication without medical advice and come in a health crisis. So we are learning slowly how we can help them control this disease which is becoming epidemic for us.

i did want to share news from the world of my FURRY Friends. if you read the blog of my animals you know I have a HUSKY, CHAJINEL. This is the Mayan word for GUARDIAN!
Chajinel does not have much opportunity to roam so you know he was happy when of the workers brought a female HUSKY as a possible mate. I was a bit concerned he might growl and not be friendly but I was wrong. This visit was meant to be a get acquainted space and I was as excited as Chajinel to meet KEEKA. More later on upcoming visits. I am including a photo so all can know CHAJINEL!