Visit to Yaxunah (last week in Merida)03/16-03/22

La milpa de Don Francisco
El maiz que nos regalos Dos Francisco
This week we had a three-day excursion to Yaxunah located about an hour and forty minutes from Merida. There we stayed with a Mayan community where we were all divided into different homes. We brought our own hammocks and slept on them for the three nights we spent there. My host family was extremely nice and humble. Our host mom treated us so kindly and fed us super delicious meals! Our host dad was the pueblos commissioner, he solved and headed most issues or important stuff in the pueblo. During our stay there, we interacted with so many amazing people, we star gazed on top of our friends’ roof, we visited an archeological site, swam in a beautiful centoe and got a tour of a milpa (cornfield).

Additionally, we were divided into different groups to focus on different topics in our short stay. My group was Public Health we visited a partera (midwife) and also spoke to our host mom and her sister about their experience with the partera. The partera told us that she learned how to do her job at age sixteen from her mother-in-law receiving training as her apprentice. Upon receiving the training and beginning to practice independently, doctors told her that she had to “get training properly trained”. To receive the training, she took a class where they trained her on how to do her job and explained her duties with the local hospital. These classes were paid for by the government, although traditional medicine does not have its official recognition they only receive a certificate of course completion. The government does not pay her for her work, although she works directly with clinics that support members who believe in and practice traditional and western medicine. She explained to us that she has to fill out documents with basic information about the newborn that she helps birth such as how much they weigh and their name. She told us that the women she works with only speak Mayan, so she communicates in Mayan. She emphasized during our conversation the great responsibility of a midwife to care for a pregnant woman and that there has been a lack of proper training and care in the community since the introduction of Western medicine. She explained the lack of midwifery training and how this has led to no midwives in the Yaxunah community. This has caused the typical birth style for local women to be C-sections. She described this misfortune of C-section birthing as “the child coming ill” due to the poor training of the new midwives since they must massage the baby properly in preparation for its birth. On the other hand, she told us that to be a midwife and practice it properly, one has to be chosen for the job. Doing the job without being chosen can cause various complications for midwife patients.

Overall it was a beautiful experience to learn from such knowledgeable people. Unfortunately, due to Coronavirus, our visit was shortened, and it became very stressful as all of my peers were very worried about the program being canceled and/or borders being shut down. On our last full day in Yaxunah, we were told that our study abroad program had been canceled and that once we returned we had until the end of the week to return home. It was the worst way to end a great weekend.
belleza de Yaxunah

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