"If we want peace in the world,
we also have to let our children be born in peace."
Angelina Martinez Miranda

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meeting ancient mayan midwives in Guatemala

Here there are some pictures about the last projection in San Pedro and the first meeting with local comadronas sharing their knowledge with us...

 Weaving connection between us....

 Guatemalan comadronas watching captivated Angelina's midwifery practice



In these pictures you can only see very few moments that we shared last 16th july here in San Pedro with the local midwives, or comadronas, as they call them.


In this very charming village, with Paola, Ja'bel'ya's project coordinator, I met Mariou and Doña Esther a comadrona that work widely in the whole community of Sololà. Together we decided to start a talk group for the women's community in San Pedro and San Juan. This new group, which its aim is to promote and to expand the knowledge of the midwives and to allow them to be informed about sexual and reproductive health, pregnancy risks, self-esteem and many other subjects that concern women and families well being. We meet together twice a week (monday and saturday afternoon) and we propose several exercices and interactive games to open us up, to play and discover every day a little bit more about us.


I'm really proud of having started this project with them and every time we meet, I can see the group more confident and strengthened by the willing of learn and share. I look forward to begin the medical plants class with Doña Josephina where we'll go to discover how ancient mayan midwives used their local plants to heal and cure many diseases related to the pregnancy, the new born and the post-partum.

In the meantime I'm developping the idea of doing a new video-portfolio, but this time about Doña Chona Perez, the last very ancient traditional comadrona that lives in San Pedro.I just met her grand-daughter Deborah yesterday and we talked just a little about this project. We both think that this will be a great opportunity to safe and to preserve her almost secular knowledge with a video documentary.

Deborah, already intorduced me Newest Barbara Rogoff's book: "Developing Destinies, a mayan midwife and town" (Oxford 2011) has already wrote a really huge and wide research on her life. For sure that will inspire me...



Developing Destinies is based on Barbara Rogoff's 35 years of child development research in the Mayan town of San Pedro la Laguna, on Lake Atitlan. One of the town's leading child development experts is Doña Chona Pérez, who was born with the destiny of being a midwife in the Mayan spiritual tradition. The ...book, written together with Doña Chona and two of her grandchildren, gives an account of how individual lives and community history are intertwined. It focuses on how family lives change and continue with traditional practices, across Chona's 85 years, and extending back to historical accounts of spiritual and birthing practices from pre-Hispanic times.


For more information about this very amazing book, see page below:
http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Psychology/Social/?view=usa&ci=9780195319903

In the meantime, Angelina Martinez's video "Born In Mexico" will be shown again the next 16th July in Ja'bel'ya, Asociación Comunal in San Pedro, to start a new group with comadronas and Doña Chona too, discussing about, gender, sexuality, safe childbirth, lactancy and many other themes concerning the well being of the babies and the local mayan mothers and families.


I hope that in this new incoming period, time will be fruitful for me and this new video project and bring me new creative ideas to realize it.

Provisional title: Guerreras por la vida - (Warriors for life)

Just to remember what this video will feature:
- How Traditional Midwives lived, worked and survived during Guatemalan Guerrilla in the 80's
- Doña Chona's story documented with ancient photos and videos since her early practice
- How traditional mayan midwives can read and predict the newborn's future by only reading its ombilical cord (that will be amazing!)
- Who's going to take the next generation of traditional midwives in  San Pedro la Laguna?
- Ancient mayan beliefs and superstitions on the newborn's cares
- Doña Josephina and her medical plants and Doña Esther with her experiences in midwifery around Lake Atitlan....
- And many many more...


Thanks to all of you, for your friendly support. The realization of this project will only be possible with your donations

Yes, yes! Even with only 1 or 2 US$ (or more...) you can really help this new production!