Analyzing the interviews and developing a report with recommendations for culturally appropriate nutrition education workshops is the main task now.
I recruited some interviewees directly from the Centeotl’s office, and from the colmena groups in Zimatlan and in San Pablo Huixtepec, where we taught nutrition workshops. The colmenas (beehives) are women groups that participate in community development workshops and a micro-loan program called bancomunidad. UC San Diego students developed a nutrition workshop hat I helped implement in the San Pablo colmenas. During the workshop I was close to having everyone chant with me ‘Fuera los refrescos y las sopas maruchan!!’ but I restrained myself and emphasized lead risks and the nutritional virtues of the amaranth and the quintoniles instead.
I also contacted potential interviewees through a presentation at a DIF meeting. The local DIF (National System for the Integral Development of the Family) chapter is led by Do~na Eva, the wife of the presidente municipal of Zimatlan, the local government official. About 50 ‘abuelitos o personas de la tercera edad’ (the word elderly doesn’t sound as nice) attended my nutrition presentation and provided comments related to the changes in diets they observe with younger generations.
A key element in learning about diet habits and nutrition related opinions was spending time with a host family in Zimatlan. Interacting with this family was a privilege and it gave me the opportunity to taste many great local dishes such as gui~nadu, a blend of beans, corn masa, peppers, and herbs.
To learn more about the role of nutritional supplements I approached doctors and nutritional supplements distributors directly. Most people were welcoming. I even had to cut short an interview when one woman seemed to want to go on after two hours. Only two people refused to be interviewed. One was a woman doctor who responded with a flat ‘I’m not interested’ to my enthusiastic ‘My name is Naya, I’m carrying out interviews as part of a study related to the health of migrants…’. I thanked her and moved on.
Carrying out interviews in Zimaltan and in San Pablo, moto-taxis were my best friends. I could often just say the name of a person and general directions and the driver knew where to take me. The only challenge sometimes was to find a moto-taxi if I wasn’t near a main street.
The bus ride to Zimatlan from Oaxaca City is often interesting. The only thing I hope for is good music since it usually plays loudly and I have to hear it for an hour and a half. It varies from techno to ranchera or reggaeton.
From the bus, a few days ago I saw a bicycle pilgrimage to Juquila, an important Catholic site where the image of “la Virgen de Juquila” is venerated. There were a few hundred bikes decorated with plastic flowers on the handlebars. Most pilgrims had regular clothes and some carried a small wooden cross on their backs. An ambulance and trucks carrying green house like glass cases decorated with flowers and holding the image of the ‘Virgen de Juquila’ followed the bicycles. Although I am not religious myself I was touched by the pilgrims demonstration of faith.
The bus ride can also be informative. I took this picture of a common sight, a family owned small grocery store. In front there's a little table with one of the most important products for sale: soda. The signs covering the walls are often sponsored by beer or soft drink companies. The white letters say: abarrotes, cerveza, palomitas, sopas instantaneas, jugos y licuados.