After visiting the communities, seeing how the NGO Wuqu’Kawoq worked and interviewed a dozen people, we still have to visit the Tecpán hospital to complete the content of our future documentary. Of course, we could stay here again for months, as there are things to learn and people to meet … (This is relatively frustrating.)

So here we are en route to the hospital of the city of Tecpán. We take a tuc-tuc – local taxi, fast and cheap – to get there, because buses do not circulate today because of the market. We need a dozen minutes, punctuated by the horns horny tuc-tucs, to get to the hospital Tecpán.

We have an appointment with the person in charge of the establishment, who seems very busy. She calls one of the medical auxiliaries, who takes us to visit the premises. The hospital is large and divided into several buildings, each of which corresponds to a particular service. We begin the visit through the emergency department. Beds are arranged in the back of the room and separated by pale and thick curtains, installed to ensure the privacy of each patient. Between the beds, steel tables are arranged and are covered with products, drugs and medical instruments of all kinds. The emergency service is planned to accommodate 40 people. Today, only one man is in the emergency department, accompanied by his wife. The hospital is almost deserted, which reinforces a certain feeling of unease. The paramedic explains that it is because of the market and that people will come later in the day. Life is Tecpán is punctuated by collective events, and even the hospital lives or not according to such dynamics! In the emergency room, the walls are covered with posters made by the national government and the Chimaltenango Department: prevention of cervical cancer, fight against sexually transmitted diseases, denunciation of cases of sexual harassment and sexist violence, …

We continue the visit with a huge operating room, but also deserted. The equipment is cleaned, disconnected and stored. The operating table has not been used for months. In fact, our guide for the day explains that this room is no longer used and that surgeons are no longer working in this hospital because of lack of funding. From now on, if there are operations to be done, patients must go to the nearest hospital, two hours away, in the city of Chimaltenango. We continue with rooms adjoining the operating department. They too are empty. The beds are aligned one after the other, without it being possible to detect an ounce of life. Suddenly, the silence of the hospital breaks, the crying and screaming of a woman cross the corridor. ” She will give birth ! “Says the medical assistant. The hospital has a maternity ward that accommodates an average of two to three women a day.

We continue the visit by the gynecology and general medicine department, where many women and their children wait in a huge waiting room. Most of these women are in traditional Mayan attire. A television in the back of the room is lit, the sizzling images of a cartoon animate the children. The paramedic tells us that all health services provided by the public services are free in Guatemala. However, the language that is spoken in the majority is Spanish …

We then go to a unit a little further away. The walls of the outside are covered with a fresco with characters from Walt-Disney. The images of a fantasized world, that of cartoons, cover a very different reality. We are now entering the center for malnourished children. Guatemala is one of the countries with the highest rate of child malnutrition. The nurses take care of 4 children who have been here for more than a month: after 10 days in the emergency department due to severe malnutrition, they will remain several weeks in the rest room. Two children are accompanied by their mother. One of them takes advantage of the nap of her one-year-old daughter to embroider a fabric of multicolored flowers. The second plays with his young boy, who overflows with energy and goes back and forth in the corridor running and hiding. As for the other two children, the moms are not in the hospital with them. Marco, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy, suffers from microcephaly and sits alone in a bed. The nurses tell us that her mother is no longer allowed to see him, and that the judges will decide in a few months what will happen to the boy. As for the second baby, who is severely malnourished, her mother comes to see him from time to time, but she lives in a very remote community and has to take care of her other children. This last visit is particularly difficult. Malnutrition is a direct consequence of poverty that endangers the lives of thousands of children in Guatemala, and elsewhere …

It’s time to head back to the Wuqu’Kawoq office. We stay there in the afternoon, busy with editing videos and writing our articles …