We started our third-morning sharing breakfast around a long table at our hotel restaurant. On this morning we had a slower than usual start as we were scheduled for a lecture at the Comisión de Los Derechos Humanos, to be given by professor Adrian Verde Cañetas. The talk was described to be one that discussed the architecture of Merida, but it ended up being much more. Professor Canetas described the modern history of how the city of Merida came to be organized. Present day neighborhoods were once haciendas, or ranches, that was owned by one wealthy family and farmed by endured servants. As the source of economic power in the region shifted from agrarian to industrial, the haciendas were sold in parcels to new landowners or the city of Merida. Those subdivisions became neighborhoods built with houses purchased by families of relative means. Our group learned that during this shift the economic power of Merida became firmly held by citizens who live in the north, while the poor neighborhoods reside in the southern part of the city, especially those located near the airport. These communities would be the ones we worked with during our week in Merida.
A history lesson may seem superfluous to the work performed by nurses, but such knowledge is essential to providing respectful and competent care. In learning about the economic scope of a region, a nurse can better decide on the necessary resources needed in disadvantaged communities. In understanding a fraction of the economic upheaval propagated by the wealthy class, a nurse is better able to navigate the social mores of a city. When outsiders come to help, they must be responsible for educating themselves on the history of an area because they will provide better care.
The remainder of our third day was spent teaching the various health modules to our group had created to the community leaders of Emiliano Zapata. Our goal for the projects was to help local community leaders educate other residents of Emiliano Zapata on the following topics: Dental Health, Talk with Me Baby, Preventing Child Sexual Abuse, and Environmental Health and Composting. Some of the module content was created during the weeks proceeding the trip, but many of the groups finalized their modules after conferring with local community leaders. The perspective provided by the community leaders assisted our group in creating content directly relevant to the community members. With the help of the translators, we presented our materials to the adult leaders, who followed up our presentations by teaching the modules to children within the community.