In the most remote parts of Guatemala and around the world, solidarity is crucial to overcoming challenges and rebuilding life after disasters. Such is the case in the parts of Maya Territory ravaged by hurricanes Eta and Iota last year. Several Q'anjob'al, Chuj and Akateka Maya communities were partially or even totally destroyed, and residents were forced to leave their homes and take refuge with relatives or in shelters to survive.
Coordinating with the Ancestral Plurinational Q'anjob'al, Chuj and Akateko Government, CMPI was able to quickly reach the affected communities, collect data, and immediately know the conditions on the ground and what the communities needed.
With this information, and the generous support of Global Giving, we were able to buy corn, beans, rice, personal hygiene products and other basics. With these resources, we helped ensure that the basic food needs of 1967 people in eight communities were met for two months after the disaster. 65% of those served are adolescents and children.
With the funds, we also contributed to the restoration of a 300-meter section of road, which had been completely covered with earth as a result of a landslide caused by heavy rains, blocking access to three communities of San Pedro Soloma. The restoration of this road benefited about 1,500 people. Several houses lost their roofs in the twin storms, and we were also able to provide some families with metal sheets to rebuild their homes and move back into them
The passage of storms Eta and Iota through Mayan territory has been painful and challenging for those who lived through it. But it has been less painful thanks to the support received from all the good-hearted people who have contributed to this cause. We at Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim are deeply grateful for the solidarity of everyone who donated through Global Giving and Global Giving itself for their gifts to this much needed humanitarian work.
At the beginning of this project, we proposed focusing our training of ancestral medicine on women. However, the community requested that we expand it out to include men. In order to respect their autonomy, the project is now being directed at five men and seven women between the ages of 13 and 58. This diversification of ages is an opportunity to exchange the knowledge that already exists about Mayan medicine, strengthen it, and guarantee its continuity for generations.
Of seven planned modules, two have been carried out. These include 1) The history of Mayan medicine in indigenous peoples, and 2) The Mayan cosmogony and its relationship with Mayan medicine. These topics have strengthened the foundation of this ancient knowledge in the participants.
In most Mayan communities of Guatemala, the participation of women is minimal, since domestic responsibilities almost always fall on them, which makes it difficult for them to fully participate in different processes that benefit their family, their community, and themselves. At Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim, we know that the training of men and women is essential to collaborate in the construction of a society that offers equal conditions between genders. For this reason, in carrying out the modules of the Ancestral Medicine Project, we have created a space for the attention and care of the children of the participants with a person in charge of the space. In this way, the care of the participants’ five children is not an obstacle to their participation and learning.
In order for the training process on Mayan medicine to have a greater impact, and to deepen and provide more knowledge to the participants, we have had the collaboration of two experts on the subject, both of Q'eqchi Mayan origin. To ensure that language is not a barrier between the instructors and participants, we had the support of an interpreter. The information provided in the workshops is being collected and systematized for future learning.
Recently, in Guatemala, new prevention measures have been issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic, suspending face-to-face learning. However, we believe that now more than ever we must strengthen knowledge about our millennial health system, so we are looking into continuing the process virtually.
For this project to have life, it is counting on the support of a team of five people as well as the Project Coordinator of the Maya Pixan Ixim Community in the Mayan territory. This work is made possible through the generosity of our donors.