Wednesday, November 6 by Suvi Kajamaa

Today was a full working day in the community. My team was more than lucky to be able to visit the local healthcare unit and interview dr. Claudia Mena. She comes to the community only once a month. For us, she was the perfect stakeholder to give insights of the local healthcare system. She has been working in the community for the last ten years and she really knows the community´s challenges. With her we draw a route map to illustrate the different possibilities in an emergency situation, which can be later on updated by the community. It became really clear that increasing the community´s income level would allow a voluntarily paid insurance fee that could enable the people of ´Veinte` to get treatment faster and closer (and cheaper because of savings in transportation).
Photo: Jan Ahlstedt

We also had a nice session in Rosa´s house. She is one of the artisans working with textiles. With her we were able to talk more about the individual challenges in healthcare issues and of course broaden our understanding of the profession as an artisan in ´Veinte`. From my perspective, these visits were really important observation moments also from a tourist perspective. In Rosa´s house, for example, I had a plan to buy something for my mother. It became clear that buying a textile souvenir is not the easiest thing to do: the textile material the artisans mostly use is not elastic and the clothes really need to fit the one carrying them.
Photo: Suvi Kajamaa

At Rosa´s house we also understood that there is certain type of competition between the artisans: the money brought in by the existing visitors is not always distributed equally. Details like family relations and a location of the house influence the visiting order of the tourists. The last place visited can end up to a place were the products are only looked at no more is purchased. From a tourist perspective the size of the products is a limiting issue in purchasing decisions. The beautiful hammocks, for example, are pretty big and heavy to carry with. This can be considered as a product development opportunity.

We had a lunch at Ofelia´s house. Today was the only vegetarian day for us in the community (= no chickens killed). For me, it has been a new experience to sit in the lunch table and observe the “future food” happily, stepping on the floor. The chickens and roosters are all around, walking freely in the village. Once I paid attention for wheelbarrows full of already pealed corns, five chicken jumping on the top. These happy looking chickens were a bit scary view from the hygiene perspective. Somehow we all have managed to have really healthy stomachs during the field trip, the amazing chefs of the community have skills to kill the unwanted bacteria while cooking.
Photo: Jan Ahlstedt

Later on the afternoon we also had an opportunity to talk with Humberto, one of the key stakeholders in the community what comes to the development of tourism. It was great to share some ideas and hear his visions of the future.

Today we had some important evening activity: the rematch of the soccer. This time on a small concrete field! It seemed to be a more competitive event. Only the most athlete guys were aloud to play, to figure out who is the real winner. The ones who did not play had some competitive entertainment. The kids of the community are really fun company. They have learned our names really fast and the most common phrase heard this week is “Moi!” (Hello in Finnish). During the soccer game Theresa introduced us some games we played. Unfortunately, the playing turned out to be an opportunity to do some field observation in the Mexican hospitals. Alastair was unlucky. He managed to hurt himself while escaping from the chasing kids.

Photo: Jan Ahlstedt

Alastair was transported first to Xpujil (half an hour by car) and from there send to Chetumal ( 2 hours ) for broader check-up. As a tourist with insurance he had no problems in access issues. A fluent Spanish speaking person was needed to accompany him. Gabriel was taken from the soccer field, sweaty and exhausted. Our other choice, Lucero, did not meet the local requirements; a hospital cannot be entered in a skirt. A lot we have learned so far about the access issues but this detail amused me a bit, I must say. Luckily Alastair was able to return our hostel on the evening, injuries were not too serious. Professor ´Broken Wing` we can call him further on. Next day he even got a special decoration for his arm sling. Thanks to Leydi, one of the artisans, Alastair will definitely catch some special attention back in Finland.

Photo: Suvi Kajamaa

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