Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Journals from Belize: 2-3-12 morning

Photo by Ryan Bannan

Journals from Belize
2-3-12 morning

Our pace is not fast, but we are staying consistently busy.  Enough so that I have not found much time to write.  The days here have been surprisingly rainy and cool.  I am sleeping great so far and we are well fed, better than I had anticipated.  My conversations with the Mayan Health Workers yesterday confirmed how similar our struggles are.  Down at the heart of the matter we are more the same than we are different.   True, the developing world has far less than we do in terms of medicines.  However, the politics and mentalities are very much the same. 
Photo by Ryan Bannan

In terms of remedies people everywhere look to pills to fix their maladies.  It amazes me that people will take an aspirin for headache without first seeing that they are properly hydrated.  I have been approached time and time again for medicine while walking about the village.  Each instance I am content to give only advice and happily refer each person to Andreas the Laguna Village Health Worker.

Photo by Ryan Bannan
People seek other medicines besides just pills, however.  Everywhere we humans have basic needs, many of which frequently go overlooked.  We all want to feel successful, want to feel supported, and want to be needed.  We need to be fed and clothed, and we need to believe in progress.  Everyone I meet, every conversation I have further supports this notion.  I would like to get about the village today and learn more about the perceived needs of the community. 
People are looking to us for answers, but as I explained to Carlos earlier, we too have much to learn.  I attempted to explain to him that despite our high levels of material wealth in the U.S., we are lacking in many other ways .  We live much more isolated, more sterilized lives and are constantly finding ways to separate ourselves from one another.  I spare him the full diatribe seeing that he is perplexed by this concept.  Maybe his look is more of surprise. 
I am looking forward to working more with the Community Health Workers Carlos, Andreas, and Anna in the coming week.  They are intelligent, motivated, and have a contagious passion for assisting their communities however they can.  It’s inspiring.  I am also hoping to discover what local, traditional treatments are still being used in the villages around Toledo.  I spoke with Carlos about the role of Bush Doctors and was somewhat surprised that he knew nothing of the famous Bushman Don Elijo nor of his apprentice Rosita Arvigo.  I am curious how knowledge is spread here and I am curious about what the hot topics of conversation may be.  One thing is for certain, people are always talking about one another!
There are childish politics in play here as there are everywhere.  Andreas told me that people in Laguna Village frequently arrive at the clinic looking for pills and medicines regardless of their illness.  If medicine is not indicated or they don’t get what they want, they get upset and gossip and don’t return. 
It takes integrity to do the right thing not just once, but over and over.  I advise him to stay strong and be wary of letting the patient decide their own treatment.   I encourage him to educate his people on why and when to use medications.  I encourage him to explain to them the limitations of medicines, potential complications, and prolonged, undesired effects.  Alternatives too are important.  He is appreciative of the advise and seems comforted when I explain to him that we have the same type of problems in the U.S.  
Later in the night music booms from large speaker cabinets inside the block and tin churches scattered plentifully about the village.  The bass from the speakers echoes about the darkness for hours at a time lingering like fog in the jungle tree tops.  Each day here brings new challenges. Each day is full with meaning.

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