Friday March 10. Boarding to Guatemala leaving New Jersey! Arrived at the airport after couple hours later. The weather is hot. I was surprise to see that there are a lot of kids at the airport selling souvenir, very different in the United States. I don't know why but I feel very emotional. Then we on our way to Panajachel. It take about 4 hours to get there and we stay in the hotel. The water is different from the Unite States. I wonder if we people get use to the latitude because they living there for a long time.
Saturday March 11,. We leave the hotel to go to a tour of coffee cooperative. It is a very beautiful lake.
We followed one of the worker to see the coffee plantation and also get to see where they store the coffee and how they make the coffee. It is organic coffee! We get to hear about the history of the cooperative. it is very interesting of how they start from a small group of the people to a large cooperative. The cooperative create more job opportunities for the people in the community. The tour guide also introduced us to a natural dye plants. It is very interesting for me to learn about all the natural things. I think that is good for the people health. They use the natural plants to dye their clothes so they will not expose to toxic chemicals. I wonder how much coffee they drink a day, because coffee contain caffeine and it is not good we have have too much caffeine it will disrupt sleep and not good for pregnant women,
Sunday March 12. We went to see the butterfly spectacular and do the zip-line. After that we head to the Chichicastenango market, we ate dinner and have some free time to explore the market. Then we heading to the AMA House in Quetzaltengo. At the market we have to be careful because it is very crowded. One thing I am very surprised that the women women keep following us to sell their handmade blankets. I think they just want to sale their stuff and make a living. But I feel very weird, maybe different culture and I see that there are a lot of food in the market such as meats, and vegetable. I think it is not very clean because it is place outside, the flies dust could get into the meat. One thing I wonder is what do people do for living? I see a lot of handmade clothes.
Very nice dinner at the AMA House.
Monday March 13. Today we going to the community to see the stove building demonstration. But I was not able to go. I was sick. I throw up couple times and had a really bad headache. It might be because of the high altitude that I didn't get use to it. After drinking a lot of water I feel so much water. I didn't drink much water maybe it cause me to have low blood pressure and cause my head to feel dizzy. I wonder if this have to deal with genetic too? because some people are fine with altitude.
Tuesday March 14. Today we go to the community to continue working on the stoves. I was able to go today :). We helping putting the bricks together using concrete and we put some rocks on it to make a layer. We have to use the small rocks only. Darice was so creative that she use the chair to filter out the rock! I think a stove is very significant to the people in the highlands. The stove help them to help to reduce the respiratory illness, blindness, lung cancer, and burns on daily basic. One thing I wonder is I don't see the husbands of the women there. I wonder if they go to work in the farm. And I wonder what do they do for leaving because I don't see a lot of resources there.
After the stove building we go back to the AMA House and have dinner. After dinner we watch a fire ceremony. It was a very interesting and touching ceremony. All of us were able to connect together such as different problems in lives.
Wednesday March 15. We go to the community to do the health project. Such as measure height and weight to calculate the BIM, do the glucose test and more. There were a lot of people show up. I think this is a very important check up for them because they might not have it done before. This let them know more about how is their health. If their blood sugar is high they need reduce the amount sugar that they take a day.
One of the activities of the health project is the eyes screening for the children at the school. These children in the picture are waiting for eye screening. I was so surprised that some of the children have very low vision at a very young age. I am not sure but I am think it might because they don't have enough light and lack of nutrition. One question I have is that after the eye screening will the children able to get glasses? are there any fund that can help them to have a pair of glasses?
Thursday March 16. We continue our health project at the community. We went to the classroom and engage with kids about my plate. What are some healthy and unhealthy food. We also did the sugar shock game with the people in the community. They really enjoyed the game and was surprise of how much sugar it in certain drinks such as Pepsi. I was surprise about the condition of the classroom. When we doing the coloring activity, there was not enough color pencil for everyone. I feel like they don't have enough resource to learn which is very sad to me. I also noticed that the children don't have shoes in good condition that can protect their feet. I also see that there are little bumps on the skin of their hands. I think it might cause of infection but I am not sure what cause it, I wonder what is that.
The children are playing soccer together.
We also had an opportunity to meet with a very experienced bone setter. We learned about different plants that can help to heal the fractures of the bones. It was very interesting to see we can use natural ingredients to heal the bones. We also did the power-point to help the midwives and the women to know more about different birth control ways. After that we went to the hot spring, it was a very nice experience.
The women in the community thanks us by giving us flowers. It was a very emotional moment. They said very appreciated that we come to help them despite how far it is or how bad the road is. Which made my trip to Guatemala is so much more meaningful.
Friday March 17. We leave for Antigua and stop by Maya Ruins of Iximche. There we see different ancient sculptures and we walk around to see the the house and the calendar that the Mayan people build many years ago. They were so intelligent, they did not have many tools back then but they were able to build things. Lupe said that they used honey. Wow that is so neat. I wonder if there ants?
Saturday March 18. Today we have a free day in Antigua. We went around to explore Antigua. We went to the local supermarket to see if we want to buy anything. We bought some fruits that do not have in United States. But when we go back to the hotel and ask Lupe and she was not recommended us eat those fruits. So we didn't eat it. I really want to try the fruits because it been so long since I see it. But I also afraid that I will get diarrhea or get sick on the airplane which is not a good thing. Maybe because we not really sure how the fruits are plant, such as different chemicals. We have to disinfected before we it. Maybe when I leave in the United States my digestive has changed. I remember when I was in Vietnam not long ago. I ate a lot of random fruits and food in the market and never get sick, but when I return there I get sick very bad after eating the food on the streets.
Here are the fruit that I wanted to tried.
Sunday March 19. We are heading back to New Jersey. It was a really meaningful trip.
Answers for the questions: 1) based on the readings, lectures and observations during the course I think the sociocultural, economic, legal and political factors have a very large influencing healthcare delivery and practice in Guatemala. At the community in the highlands the cultural are very different than people in the city. I feel like it is a whole different world. They live different, they dress different, and they even speak a different language even though it is the same country. The people live there are very poor so they do not have access to much of the healthcare services. It looks like there are no government support for the people there. They living without many resources, they do not even have access to clean water which is very critical for their health. They can access to the hospital when they need to deliver their babies and the children do not have enough learning resources. 2) From what I observed still today people at the highlands still don't have much of a voice/ they are voiceless. They don't have much attention in the health care system. 3) There are similarities and some differences between the Guatemalan culture to your country of birth. One of the similar things is in my country which is Vietnam, there are some indigenous group of people that also live in the highlands and they are also very poor and they also do not speak the same language as other people who live in the North and the South of Vietnam. Children have to walk a very far distance to go to school. One other thing is similar is children are working at a very young age and the government have no rule regulation. There are little children such as age 5 selling lottery ticket at a market or cleaning shoes to make a living . I think one of the differences is the difference rituals they practice and the food is also very different. 4) One of the biggest barrier and challenges is seeing similar things happening to the kids there to kids in Vietnam and very different in the United States. I feel very emotional and almost cried when seeing a little boy run away so happy when he sell his little wood key chain for $5 and when I said the little girl can have my journal she was so surprise, the little things mean a lot to them. I still remembered when I was in Vietnam my brothers and I have to share books because we did not have enough money to get the new one. My brother is 9 years older than me. It become for difficult for me to see the kids are lying on the floor and have little food to eat, thinking but when I see the kids in the United States refuses to eat sometimes. Even my nephew he is only 9 months old but he have so many toys which are not that necessary and the children in the mountains do not even have a box of color pencils for themselves. It is really really sad to me, and they can't even pursue a career that they want in the future like children here. But I have to see it as a positive way. I feel very happy that they still feel very happy and grateful for what they already have.5) I realized that I am more fun than I thought I would be as I interacted with the team and the Guatemalan people because I was always a shy and quite student. But I am happy that I was able to step out of my comfort zone. I was able to talk more get to know more able people in school that I just meet and I have met before in Biology classes. One important thing is I was able to make a bond with the children and the people in the community and the people in the AMA House. Without them my learning service trip would not be the same.