“I am very thankful to the great Ajau for this program. We Mayan people are distanced from our own knowledge. Speaking of our knowledge and practicing our medicine has been prohibited by the racist government in Guatemala who have been trying to eliminate the Mayan civilization for 500 years. That’s how we came to forget our medicine more and more. We have just been trying to survive. As a consequence, today many children and adults in our communities are dying and we don’t have the medicine to help them or to pay for an ambulance. I am a midwife, and I see many women die in childbirth and I am powerless. And when they die, the life inside them dies too.
So since AMOR began to share this knowledge, they helped us remember and share our ancestral knowledge. As a result I feel happy and confident that I am helping mothers and babies stay alive. Thanks to this program, I feel more confident in my work. I know the medicine I am giving people is very effective because I have the testimonies of people I have helped who have been made better through these natural medicines.”
The HEAL Guatemala model is based on a year-long program of Mayan medicine training sessions and clinics. This program will help young Indigenous medicine women participate as traditional health builders and pillars of their community, acquiring and promoting traditional medical knowledge and skills such as midwifery, herbalism, massage, reflexology and chiropractic, all strongly rooted in Mayan ancestral wisdom. These young medicine women will take on the role of community health volunteers who will use their knowledge and healing gifts to help heal their communities. They will also train others in these same skills, rebuilding traditional knowledge and wisdom in Mayan communities devastated by genocide, creating a strong base of Indigenous women’s health leadership in Guatemala.
Northern Quiché is a war-devastated Indigenous area with some of the highest child malnutrition rates in Guatemala and the world. 45 Ixil and K’iche’ Mayan women from Northern Quiché will directly benefit from this training. As community health volunteers, they will conduct free clinics and home visits, train others and build teams to help restore Mayan health and lives. Approximately 4,200 people in Northern Quiché will indirectly benefit from this project.