We had another very rewarding time teaching 61 traditional midwives this past Feb/Mar! We spent our first week in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan and had the help of a young doctor from the public health center who was very effective in making the women realize the validity and the importance of the work they do. He also encouraged them to come to the health centre if they were concerned about the pregnant woman that they were helping. He would assess the woman with their help and be there while the midwife helped the woman birth and help if any complications arose. This is exactly the kind of thing we have been hoping for!
During our 2nd week, we returned to Chirijox to teach the remaining traditional birth attendants from that area. We also had 2 women (a mother and daughter) that heard we would be teaching in Chirijox, walk 5 hours the first day, having left home @3 AM! Catarina, one of our team members opened her home to them for the duration of the course so they wouldnâ€™t have such a commute to deal with. Each week during our closing circle, we heard many women expressing their thanks to us. We heard some eloquently express that this was the first time they had received any hands-on training and how useful this was for them. After doing many demonstrations and role playing situations, they felt quite confident that they had learned the information. This was obvious to us as well.
The Ministry of Health in Guatemala has also come on board this year. We have always intended and hoped for their involvement, so it is great after these 8 years to have this official recognition! Dr. Christian from the public health unit came to the graduation ceremonies and signed the certificates and stamped them with the Ministry of Health seal.
Word of our course continues to spread. We have been asked to come to 7 other towns in the coming years so Cenaida, our Guatemalan team leader, will be assessing which towns we will start with. Apparently, some of the towns are very difficult to access requiring a 4 wheel drive. Itâ€™s also unsure as to whether there will be a room appropriate for a teaching space in some of the towns. So, some sleuth work is required.
We plan to return to the highlands of Guatemala in Feb. 2011 to continue this project.