Flexibility was the word of the day for us on our fifth day in Mexico. Thursday started out like the other days, breakfast first thing before loading onto the bus to head into the community. Today Victor took us to the cemetery to learn a little more about the culture and history of Merida. It was shocking to see how different cemeteries are Mexico; they are bright and full of color. Our translators explained to us that in Mexico death is not feared but celebrated.
After our stop at the cemetery we continued on to San Luis, one of the neighborhoods in the south part of Merida that we had been working with during the week. The plan for the day was to work with community leaders to edit the health education modules we had prepared back in Atlanta, with the hope of teaching the community members later in the afternoon. When we arrived at San Luis one of the community leaders, Raquel, met us and told us how the rain the previous night had flooded many of the homes in the community. The mothers were currently trying to salvage their homes from the damage done by the rain and flooding.
Knowing that the mothers were focused on their homes we regrouped and decided to reassess the community to see what needs we could help meet in this moment. We sent part of the team on a mission to gather supplies while the rest of the team walked around to assess the community. Even with their homes completely flooded the people of San Luis graciously welcomed us, inviting us into their homes showing us the impact of the rain. After seeing the homes we saw that a lot of homes had deep pools of standing water that could cause a lot of health issues for the people. We decided to use our resources to provide gravel, tarps, shovels and other items that could hopefully prevent water from flooding in the homes. Our plan moving forward is to work with the community to remove some of the standing water and hopefully start creating some type of system that could prevent flooding in the future.
Though this day looked a lot different than what we had planned, it was truly an eye opening experience to see what the people of San Luis struggle with in their day to day. We were able to work with the community to come up with a solution to the problem they were facing today. It was just us nursing students coming in to fix a problem, it was all of us, students, faculty, translators, community members and partners, working together to move this community forward.