It was June 8th, when we traveled to Ccataca for our 2 days trip. Ccatca was a small village, 46 Miles away from Cusco (on top of the Andes in Peru). And, It is one of the poorest regions of the area! Our mission was to meet with local health providers in the community/ women and child rights advocates and practice a project for children ages 5 to 13. The goal of the project was to educate targeted population on how to properly wash their hands and brush their teeth; as well as educating them about nutritional foods. To many of us, these tasks might seems obvious, but to communities in rural areas in developing countries, they are essential!
When we were about to start the educational project, we faced a major obstacle which wasn’t on our radar, locals in Ccatca didn’t speak Spanish! They spoke Quechua, a local language of some of the natives in South America! Therefore, we decided to use some Spanish words with sign language to communicate with the children and deliver desired goals. Not to say that I was speaking Spanish fluently because I wasn’t, but I was successfully able to at least understood them and communicated with them. Actually, I was impressed by how we achieved it haha!
After we finished our project, we were heading to the community center. On the way, we were accompanied with most of the students after school! They were curious and followed us to where we were staying! at the community center, some of the group members started playing football (soccer) and I noticed the young girls were only watching from far. They were a little shy, I believe! Since I come from a conservative society, I understood immediately what they were feeling. They reminded me of some of the girls in my family. So, I encouraged them to interact with the rest of the group hoping they could be comfortable later in their societies as independent women.
Later, we head to our second task of the day. We went with Aly, a local doctor, to Claudia’s office. Claudia was a local doctor in Ccatcca as well as and women and children’s rights activist. She works in a governmental agency to reduce violence against women and children, including sexual harassment. According to Aly, violence against women and children are major issues in Peru. The country raked third in South America. Unfortunately, the number of reported cases is increasing recently specially in Ccatcca. Additionally, Ccatcca is considered one of the most dangerous areas in Peru due to poverty and human trafficking.
June 9th, I woke up to the sound of kids giggling at the door; they were the little kids from the school we went to the day before! Anyways, it was our last day in Ccatcca and we first stopped at the hospital where they took us to see the sections and delivery rooms. The tour was very interesting to me because I have never thought of any other method of giving birth except for giving birth in water or giving birth laying laterally on bed; even though I was a public health student! I learned, there was the “vertical method!” It is when Pregnant women give birth while holding onto a rope or fabric hanging from the ceiling and knees on the ground. This method makes the direction of the opening of the uterus perpendicular to the ground. It is safer and easier for pregnant women because they deliver faster due to gravity and they won’t need to push as much while giving birth. Thus, health issues during delivery for women could be prevented with this method. However, it isn’t as convenient as the globally-known method to physicians because they would have to adjust to it and it won’t be as comfortable for them as the regular way!
Our second and last duty was at a health clinic near the hospital. The clinic was built specifically for pregnant women in Ccatcca and close villages; where the nearest hospital was at least two hours driving! They stay at the clinic before and after they gave birth to receive proper care during their last month of pregnancy and in the first few days after giving birth!
Here are few photos I during the few days in Ccatcca. (Some of the pictures were taken by other members in my group!)