Along with our new Project Manager/Mexico Director, Dr. Rico from UAG, Laura revisited the village of El Reparo yesterday to check on the progress and needs of the promotoras trained in March. Nine promotoras were trained in the Spring from El Reparo and Tamiliagua, near the municipal center of Sayula, Jalisco.
The promotoras medical kits were still well-stocked and they are all reading their manuals Where There Are No Doctors. Dr. Rico conducted a refresher course in how to use the blood pressure cuff accurately and what things the promotoras should be listening for with their stethoscopes. We also held an informal meeting to discuss questions, successes, and share experiences. Several wonderful outcomes were discovered during this meeting:
- The promotoras love their new jobs! Especially, Arcelia, who had wanted to be a nurse since childhood, but could not because there was only primary school education offered and her family could not afford to send her for continuing education. She said becoming a promotora was a dream come true for her!
- On their own initiative, the promotoras have organized monthly meetings where they share experiences and knowledge. Each seems to have strengths in different areas, like monitoring blood pressure or giving injections. They are helping each other fortify their skills. An amazing demonstration of self-development is occurring very early in their program!
- Some of the promotoras are working with Municipal Government entities, like the department of health, speaking at health fairs and seminars in the area on health related topics. This newly established collaboration not only ensures the sustainability of the program, but also is evidence of another form of self-development instigated by the promotoras.
- Already, signs of behavior change are appearing in the community, like increased hand washing before food prep and after using the bathroom, a dramatic increase in teeth brushing, and keeping animals out of the home. This is especially evident in the households of the promotoras. As you can see in the picture below, the daughters of the promotoras have clean faces, teeth and hands.
- One of the best unanticipated outcomes of the program has been the phenomenal increase is self-esteem among the promotoras, who told us they have greater self-respect and are proud of themselves for their accomplishment. They were amazed at how much they were able to learn and retain.
After the happy and productive meeting, Rosy, the lead promotora, presented each of us with a hand-embroidered pillow case which she made herself.