Maltiox means ‘thank you’ in Mayan Achi and is pronounced Malti-osh and Pacux, pronounced Pac-oosh, is the name of the community that I worked in during my summer in Guatemala.
It’s been a little over a month into the new school year and it seems that although my summer internship is in the distant past, its lessons continue to carry over into my day-to-day activities as I venture into my second year of graduate school. Through my internship, I learned that the core of public health lies in bringing people and communities together through innovative ways that empower people to work to improve their own health. Through education, skill development, and facilitation, community members can exercise their ability to identify and prioritize their own needs, subsequently increasing their engagement and participation to improve their own situations.
As second year students, we are required to do a lot of reflection and evaluation projects concerning our summer internships, as well as, preparing a poster and presenting it during a school-wide poster session. I was very excited to share the stories of the youth and the community members that I was able to work alongside during the summer, but as I answered questions, something felt out of place. I realized that it felt very strange to present by myself, without the presence of the youth, who played a significant role throughout the process.
I have realized that the future of Public Health is not only in the students currently enrolled in graduate or undergraduate programs, but that the future of Public Health is also in every person that works to improve their community. I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to observe a group of youth committed to bettering the conditions of their community this past summer in Guatemala and I would like to take this time to thank the youth that participated.
The youth participated in a process to help identify three prioritized health issues through a community needs assessment. The objective was to reinforce and facilitate community participation by empowering local youth to develop an action plan for a sustainable health project. The youth worked toward the development of a health project addressing Environmental Contamination, Natural Medicine, and Nutrition.
Maltiox: Silvia Uscap Sanchez, Adelis Mendoza Santos, Patricia Osorio Santos, Illiana Ponce, Sandra Gutierrez, Ruth Noemi Osorio, Gladys Anabella Sanchez, Maria Vicenta Osorio, Marco Antonio Chen Osorio, Samuel Chen Sanchez, Byron Osorio Chen, Karen Melissa Chen, Jonathan Joel Osorio, Melvin Ramiro Quisque, Wilson Chen Ixpata, Arley Adrian Chen Tum, Mardoqueo Osorio Chen, Juan de Jesus Sanchez, and Oswaldo Lajuj Uscap.
Note: Permissions were obtained from all of those pictured above.