The main goals I have for the program this summer are both the same goals I had as director for the Community Outreach program last semester, but applied now to the mission of the Health & Wellness program: to dedicate ourselves to the continuous improvement of all aspects of individual and community health, the study of what wellness means to different groups, and fostering healthy lifestyles through the creation of a health-conscious culture.
1. Continuation of the goal I set out for in the last semester in the Community Outreach program: turning ideas into action. Finishing what we start, following through with all the programs and research we pursue, believing that everything is possible, and working hard to see our dreams realized.
2. Keeping in mind Kalu Yala’s first and foremost objective: “highest quality lifestyle of health and sustainability and using the momentum of our own efforts to improve quality of life for people living in San Miguel and the surrounding region.” We must focus on health and sustainability in San Miguel and Kalu Yala to improve quality of life in the town and our organization, while at the same time respecting the current culture of San Miguel and the differences of those in our organization and keeping in mind the wishes of the current residents and Kalu Yalans.
- With fellow directors – consistent check-ups and meetings
- With interns – weekly individual meetings and weekly Health & Wellness meetings
- Within Casa Llena – weekly house meetings
- Have semester and weekly outlines made up by the beginning of the semester- consistently update throughout the spring
- Create project lists and breakdowns of projects.
- When I say I will do something – do it.
- When projects are started- see them through to completion.
- Be an example for interns
- We won’t get anywhere unless we put in the effort- no matter what it is.
- Have confidence as a leader and in my abilities to help interns
- Be excited about what the interns are excited about
Health and Wellness Projects:
1. Exercise and health related afterschool programs for kids
2. Exercise programs for adults in the community
3. Preliminary health research with campesinos and families in Tres Brazos
4. Clinic Beautification
5. Health & Dental Seminars
6. Medicinal plant gardens in both Casa Llena and Kalu Yala
7. Community Garden in San Miguel
8. Food Co-Op in San Miguel
9. Spirituality Research
10. Trips and Experiences for interns around Panama
Project Goals and Breakdowns:
1. Exercise and health related afterschool programs for kids:
Goals: Provide the opportunity to instill in the kids of San Miguel all the ideas of health and wellness that we discuss and put them into practice in a fun and meaningful way.
- Continuation of the soccer program
- Team with Education for Arbol de la Vida lessons related to food
- Starting a multi-sport class- Hopefully this will be similar to a gym class, going over a different sport each week – volleyball, baseball, basketball, and ballet already have had interest; possibly track and field, gymnastics, badminton or tennis, dodgeball, 4-square, and any other sports if we can find the equipment for those!
2. Exercise programs for adults in the community:
Goals: Start a group open to all ages in the community, but target the adult population in San Miguel to provide different types of exercise and answer the desire for the group and provide the opportunity for improved health and habits.
- Upon my last Spring semester day in San Miguel, I was approached by Aura and Noris and asked if I could start exercise classes for women and men in San Miguel along with children – they listed others who want these classes – they said they would like them every day if possible, especially for walking and aerobics. Now that we know there is interest, it is only a matter of organizing the group, determining the best days and times around work and family schedules, and what activities they want most.
- After joining the San Miguel volleyball team and having nightly practice at the cancha, I also realized there are other women in the community who want to play sports who at night practice soccer with their kids or joined our volleyball group; I also understood that there are many men in the community who love sports and would take the opportunity to play on organized teams if others were playing after work as well.
- The first group would be for walking, at least 2-3 days a week to start, if not 4-5 by the end of the semester, to happen every early am and/or every night.
- A second group to be an aerobics and movement class, going through different types of aerobic exercise both in the cancha and in the water. Possibly weight training, yoga, zumba or other dance.
- The third group would be sport teams – if there is interest, we can start adult leagues in San Miguel for soccer, volleyball, and possibly other sports to meet once or twice a week at night and culminate in an adult tournament or the beginnings of an adult league.
3. Preliminary health research with campesinos and families in Tres Brazos
Goals: a preliminary study to provide more understanding of health and healthcare in and around the Kalu Yala Valley.
- An extension of what was done previously in San Miguel by Evan Conaway and our Anthropology team.
- What we’re researching: labor and location in relation to care
- The further away from San Miguel we travel, the further families are from the clinic and easy access to care.
- The closer to Tres Brazos we get, the more families are working on farms/doing outdoor, manual labor; is work producing more frequent and severe injuries?
- The closer to Tres Brazos we get, the more people work and are outside; is there possibly more illness or injury from animals or insects?
- The further away from San Miguel we move, what are the types of injuries and illnesses we see, do people attempt to access care, can the type of injury and illness they see even be treated by the San Miguel clinic or are they too severe?
4. Clinic beautification:
Goals: to improve the healing atmosphere of the San Miguel clinic and bring together community members in the process.
- Would like the Ministerio de Salud to approve the project
- Hope to complete the project with the help of both interns and San Miguel community members
- Paint the inside walls and doors of the clinic Build a kids corner in the waiting room – books, toys, etc.
- Plant flowers outside of the clinic
5. Health and Dental seminars:
Goals: a bi-monthly seminar for adults in the community about all topics of health to understand what topics are of the most concern in the community and develop possible solutions and future programs in coordination with
o Geared towards adults in the community, but all ages and children welcome to attend
o What I’d like to do:
- Bring in different speakers from the San Miguel community, from Kalu Yala, and the City, to talk about different topics each seminar
- Possible topics include: diabetes, exercise, cooking and dietary changes, dental health (same week as kids lessons), mental health, prenatal and pregnancy health.
- If possible, include free screenings, have representatives from an organization dealing with each topic present that can be consulted in the future, etc.
- After each one, have people rate them in how interesting they were, if the topics were relevant, what topics they’d like to see discussed in the future and if they have any ideas for community groups stemming from each topic- like a walking group, a mother’s circle, etc.
- Work with the Education team to dedicating a day in school to a dental seminar
6. Medicinal Plant gardens in both San Miguel and the Valley:
Goals: Plant some of the most used varieties of medicinal plants, as found by Evan Conaway, in both the San Miguel and Valley gardens to give Kalu Yalans options for basic health treatment and help interns learn about natural remedies and local medicinal practices.
- This will provide students with the opportunity to learn about alternative medicines, understand more about the culture and community of San Miguel, meet individuals in the community and discuss health with them, and hopefully give them and others medicine for when they are sick here in Panama.
7. Community Garden in San Miguel:
Goals: Start a community garden in front of the library with the permission of Miriam, to be a learning tool for the kids of San Miguel, the interns of Kalu Yala, and a future source of food.
- Miriam is a fantastic gardener, and she also has wanted a flower garden in front of the library for a year now.
- Planting in front of the library means the garden will be prominently displayed, everyone will see when people are working on it, and most of all kids will see and hopefully take interest.
- Starting a community garden is something that we do not need to head or continue – the main goal would be that it would be sustained by San Miguelians in the future.
- If the community garden starts to work, it might be a good lead-in to the possibility of a co-op!
8. A food co-op:
Goals: work with community members to begin a co-op or create a weekly market
- Give San Miguelians who have extra produce the ability to turn this into a business, and encourage those who don’t grow much to increase food production.
9. Spirituality Research:
Goals: understanding of spiritual practices in and around San Miguel as an insight to perspectives on spiritual and overall health and the culture of health in San Miguel.
- Visit the different churches in San Miguel and in surrounding areas, sit in on bible studies in the community, and interview with people in the area about their spiritual practices.
- Learn more about the belief systems in San Miguel and the Valley, as this is a huge insight into the community and people here.
10. Research and Experience Field Trips around Panama:
Goals: provide interns with experiences outside of their internship location to expand insight on health practices and perspectives in other areas in Panama.
- Panama City, in which we could make visits to the Ministero de Salud, City of Knowledge, hospitals, universities, companies dealing with food, exercise studios, etc. to shadow or learn more about the health care system and businesses working in areas of health
- Veintecuatro de Diciembre to visit organizations like Red Cross or others who are currently working on health-related programs there to see how we can coordinate or work on projects they have or bring those projects/organization assistance and resources to San Miguel.