Our organization´s mission is to improve the quality of life of families of the ribera of Chapala in Jalisco, México, through providing health services for women as well as education for sexual and reproductive health. We were honored to receive 250 kits brought to us by our friend Rebecca Pohl, who traveled all the way from Canada along with her husband Allan with their truck to bring to us the DfG kits as well as other help for the marginalized communities in this area.
A dear Canadian friend we have in common, Darlene MacLeod, told them about CEDEJO and about the work we do with women and girls in the Lake Chapala area. They had the kits and they wwere planning to drive all the way here to give them out, so it was a perfect connection.
When we heard about the kits and the possibility that we could hand them to women who needed this kind of information and tools, we got really enthusiastic. We explored their website and thought about how we could best serve this amazing, worldwide project.
After considering all the possibilities, we determined that we would invite another organization to collaborate with us on this project. This organization, called Comunión de Corazón A.C http://www.comuniondecorazon.org/, appreciated from the beginning the possibility to take the kits to the Huichol women who live in a remote region of the Sierra Madre mountain range in the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas and Durango. The Huichol or Wixáritari are Native Mexicans that struggle to preserve their traditions and ancient peoples’ ways of living.
We planned the trip with anticipation; the Huichol leaders were informed and started to organize the women in the communities. Meanwhile, I (from the CEDEJO´s team) took the DfG Ambassador of Women's Health Certification to be prepared to take the kits and present proper and vast information to them.
When we got to the part when we opened one kit to go over its parts, their general response was full of surprise: oohs and aahs with a lot of smiles. With no trouble, they embraced the idea that the kit is washable and reusable, as most of what they use is. Also they recognized the importance to maintain hygienic conditions to prevent diseases, as they have no access at all to public health clinics and they are commonly affected by all kinds of infections and sickness. Unfortunately we couldn't address the part that shows how to build a tippy tap, but the group is committed to continue to work with them and go back in a couple of months to do this and reach for more Huichol women.
Also, we decided we didn't want to come back with the kits that remained (about 70) so a group of women was formed with Alicia, the women who helped with the translation, and will be responsible for taking care of the kits and handing them to women who come to them. This will be done only if they receive the information. But we suggested to motivate the women to attend the next reunion when we come back to share the information again.
Many women wanted to know if we would continue to visit and talk with them about women´s health issues. They also asked if we could reach those who couldn’t attend then. We made a commitment to follow up and plan the next trip.
After we finished handing out the kits, we joined together and thanked everybody with a cheer and after that we started giving out some more things that Comunión de Corazón A.C brought to them. It was a great moment, because then the men, the grandmothers and the children got gifts, too. It turned into a community celebration.
The “Maracame” (the shamanic leader with spiritual and social authority) and his family prepared food for us, took us to eat, and to have a wonderful time with young musicians playing traditional Huichol music. They also offered us significant gifts which made us feel privileged and overjoyed. The celebration lasted all day.
On Sunday, we came back to Guadalajara feeling fulfilled and greatly inspired by this experience. Certainly, both organizations will continue to work together to bring Days for Girls sustainable solutions for women's health to others in need.
In the name of all of us and on behalf of all the Huichol women who now have a better way to live with their periods, thank you Days for Girls!
With all my appreciation,
Hana Figueroa of CEDEJO, A.C.