A week before departure, we take advantage of this day to carry out the last two interviews we need for our future documentary.
We eat a breakfast prepared with love (Chorkin, the queen of cooking, we made pancakes this morning!) And we go to the premises of Wuqu’Kawoq for our first interview of the day. We meet Dr. Waleska Lopez Canu, who has been with the NGO since 2012. She also defines herself as “una mujer indígena, Maya Kaqchikel” (a native woman, Maya Kaqchikel).
From the beginning of the interview, she returns to the creation of Wuqu’Kawoq in 2007, following the following observation: many Maya communities can not access health services provided by the government because of the language barrier. The problem identified by the NGO Wuqu’Kawoq is intersectional: in Guatemala, power relations between ethnic, social and gender categories are eminently crystallized in all aspects of the social life of the inhabitants, and in particular access problems. to health. It is necessary to underline the racism inherent in many medico-social policies and programs, provided only in Spanish and based on cultural assumptions and stereotypes. Medical structures, as well as some NGOs, tend to view indigenous women as having difficulty in understanding biological processes, because of the illiteracy of some or their supposed indigenous cultural representations of the body and health. The NGO Wuqu’Kawoq inscribes its action at the intersection of these issues.
The doctor explains that to overcome the discrimination that the Maya minorities suffer, the NGO Wuqu’Kawoq works locally with the most marginalized minorities, to meet the needs of the people and give them access to health, a human right yet protected by international conventions. For the members of the NGO, choosing between culture or health is not acceptable: “Usted no debe hold that elegir between su cultura y su salud”. The NGO is partnering with communities around Tecpán to identify their health needs and provide them with home-based and community-based care. It’s interesting to understand the work of the comadronas – of which we spoke to you on day 13 – from this angle: they are the relay between the medical authorities of the NGO and local traditions, and allow women to benefit from the medicine while providing emergency follow-up throughout their pregnancy. Thus, several programs are set up by the NGO: the nutrition program for children from 0 to 5 years old; the program of Salud de la Mujer and Salud Móvil (we talked about it in previous articles); or the research program to produce a study on the situation of access to health in Guatemala with a militant objective.
Since the beginning of the organization’s creation, more than 2,000 patients and their families have been helped by the NGO. The organization does not receive any grants from the national government, but it manages to function mainly through private donations and Canadian and US solidarity programs (USAID in particular).
This interview was very rich. The doctor is a brilliant woman, driven by her convictions. She does not declare itself openly militant, but fervently supports the rights of indigenous communities.
Inspired by such an interview and admiring the work done daily by all these women and men in the organization Wuqu’Kawoq, we take the direction of our home .. Finally, we should rather say that of our host, Esperanza, that we find without too much delay for our second interview of the day.
While we cross her five minutes before wearing an apron, a t-shirt and jogging pants, Esperanza joins us for the interview dressed in a traditional dress of the most colorful (see photo!). Sitting on a chair in the middle of the courtyard of her house, she answers each of our questions with sensitivity, humility, and humor. Our host is a woman with character, who plunges into her past to explain to us what being “una mujer indígina” (a native woman) means to her. She works at the Tecpán market four days a week and only raises her 17-year-old son. She returned a few months ago from Spain to look after her mother, after the death of her father. Esperanza explains how difficult it is for a Guatemalan woman to have opportunities and become independent. Whether it is family pressure or sexist discrimination, the obstacles she cites throughout her life are numerous. With incredible humility, she explains to us that we must fight each day when we are a woman … And that she has been doing it for years, for her sons, for herself and for her community.
The weather is capricious and the first drops of rain force us to shorten this interview. We go to Esperanza’s kitchen, where she is proud to show us what she has been doing since this morning for tomorrow’s meal. “You have to use the wooden spoon and not the metal spoon, that’s what my mother always told me and that’s what we do in the Maya culture,” she says, stirring the corn in a large pot, heated by the flames of a traditional stove.
We finish the evening with a meal with our host. It’s up to us to cook this time! On the menu, a Guatemalan risotto …