The Tepehua team spent most of 2014 chasing the dream for Tepehua Tiangus, (Market). It came very close. The wheels were turning, donations were being sent in, seminars on Co-operative Enterprise was underway. Until politics took the usual ugly turn and rescinded on the “promised land”. The Mayor was no longer gifting it, he wanted to sell it. Mainly because he could not get the backing to enter office again. He was out.
That does not put an end to the dream. We are going ahead with training course for women…everything they learn will be a plus in their life. This ‘lemon’ will give us more time to learn how to make ‘lemonade’. In fact it has been a great learning curve…
never deal with local Government unless you have to. This project is just put aside for the moment.
The vision for Tepehua 2015 has presented itself…our clinic is crowded. We have splendid Doctors who have volunteered…and space is limited.. privacy screens are fragile, we need solid partitions…in fact we need to expand the whole clinic.
The clinic started on a dinning room table with a shower curtain, and a philanthropist and partner built Tepehua free clinic in the playground.
What we need now: An expansion of the Clinic would be to have a “clean room”, and a small lab that is equipped to do stool/urine tests, diagnose pap smears etc, and a pre/postnatal unit with two beds to handle pregnancies.
We send all our lab work to Guadalajara…it is expensive. Our Mothers have to go to Guadalajara, an hours drive, to give birth, where they wait in a corridor until their water breaks, then they are given a bed for 12 to 24 hours…then its back on the bus with their tiny infant. Mortality rate is high because of this….postnatal care is of the utmost importance, when infections set in it doesn’t take long…especially for the infants.
There have been enough tiny coffins in Tepehua. If we expand the clinic the Mothers could have their babies closer to home, be out in the same duration but with postnatal care just round the corner…and our Doctors are not adverse to making house call’s.
We have the space at the back of the center to accommodate this new building. Although sacrificing half the playground, which is only used once a week…it is for the good of the community as a whole. It is not as easy as one would expect to buy the arid Indian land of Tepehua…the people themselves do not want to sell, it is the inheritance for their children. If they are defunct on payments the Government can re-allocate the land…but you have to go through all the political mayhem to get it. The mayor promised the land could never be taken away once gifted to the Tepehua AC, but in the next turn around he rescinded the gift…so what the Government giveth, the Government can taketh away. We can build on property already owned by the people. The Tepehua Centro Comunitario. A.C. This cannot be taken away.
Hand in hand with this goes Higher Education Program. For those Doctors and Dentist interns that hit a financial block in the road. We need to finance them, and then we will also be assured, when they graduate they give back “service” of two years to Tepehua. By law, Interns must give two years service to the people. If Tepehua assures them of their further education…the Center is assured of service.
The other vision for 2015, is to re-open the Tepehua Habitat Program. Repairing the small homes to prevent the roofs leaking in the rainy season…sealing the brick walls to stop the cement from sweating in all seasons. The dampness of everything all year round creates great respiratory problems in the infants and toddlers. The cost of repairing the homes is approximately 400 dollars a home. This program also makes the men of the village responsible. Once given the material the men have to repair the home under the watchful eye of a supervisor. They learn from it. Meanwhile, if a home does not have a male in the house hold, as in the case of the aged and single Mothers, men who have already been helped with their repairs, must volunteer to help other villagers who cannot help themselves.
Education is always a priority at Tepehua Center…firmly believing the exit from poverty is education. Lifting the fog of illiteracy that clouds the ability for good judgment and choices. Especially in the young. Without Education they learn on the mean streets of Tepehua, which is downhill all the way.
2014 saw many changes at Tepehua. Those that took the English classes at the Center were able to find jobs, The education program blossomed with the help of donations, literally hundreds of children were put into the school system. And a handful of bright stars moved on to Universities. Some already in Universities that reached a financial block were helped to finish…very rewarding year.
The bakery class that started last year, and the Sewing Center, are well on the way to sustainability, and the Ladies sell their ware at all the local markets…learning how to manage their overheads and keeping the profits for themselves. The micro-saving program is earning money for them in a local bank…so in a sense we have started a co-operative enterprise already. Hopefully by 2016 that will have expanded.
The Mobile Maternity vehicle, taking the work of Sylvia Flores around to the isolated villages started this year, is very successful…women wait in the plaza for Cancer checks and family planning. We will be expanding this with a Mobile Doctor, a schedule that is a little harder to manage, but we will get there. In just January alone four villages were serviced by the Mobile Health Van. A tremendous start to help prevent a high mortality rate for Mothers and Babies.
The family Bazaar in the center is sustained…it makes a small profit every year, that goes towards helping financially, Christmas for the people. This is a remarkable project, and it is already managed by the local women.
For all our supporters we wish them a great year of promise, to be rewarded in spirit by the colossal changes made not only to the barrio of Tepehua, but for Mothers and Children in other barrios too. A tremendous achievement. To all our volunteers who are the backbone of the Tepehua Center…who do it with open arms and love, a compassion that spreads to everyone, there is no Tepehua center without you. Helping a village to help itself…and it is working.
President of the Board for Tepehua.