By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
As 2020 comes to a close, recognition of all unsung heroes from this incredible year of challenge should be sung loud and long. What would the small villages have done if not for the strong among them? Tepehua has its own unsung heroines - nurses Olga and Casi who have contracted the Covid disease. They work the front line in Guadalajara all week and volunteer for the Tepehua Clinic every Friday. All necessary precautions have been taken, and fortunately the Tepehua Center has been shut down for months now so exposure was limited.
There are other heroes in various organizations that have been fighting quietly behind the scenes for justice and equality...ever trying to level the playing field. Those trapped within poverty cannot fight it alone, and when they are hit with a devastating health threat on top of that, the most incredible things can happen. Those who never knew they had strength and power to make change rise up, and change happens. Local heroes and natural leaders emerge and take over. This column has talked about the quiet heroes before, those people who quietly do the right thing because they know they can and feel they should. Whether it is by deed or financially, the one supports the other. The deed of course, comes in many forms and kindness doesn’t need financing, but reality is that permanent change usually needs financing of one form or another. Spiritual change is another thing that happens in times like these. The one thing that should never happen is for people to ‘give up’ and leave it up to God. HE is busy. Nobody can handle crises but us, and if they are not handled properly we have only ourselves to blame, not the devil.
So we, the people, will prevail. If we steer the ship ourselves for awhile, we will get through all kinds of problems. We can create things others cannot because the people will be in charge. Like potable water with a controlled price. Tepehua can do that now because the people helped us, and now the people will run it creating work for themselves and health for their families.
Water can heal. If a patient is in stage one to three diabetes, changing colas for clean water can reverse the situation in a matter of months. For the two years Tepehua gave away free water (along with a dose of education on nutrition) to those at risk, there was a remarkable change in the health of the people. Fewer diabetics needed care, and a huge drop occurred in the cases of parasites. Two years ago, the Tepehua clinic gave away free parasite medication to everyone because the rainy season always brings a rash of patients. This year few people contracted parasites. Water can kill. Water born diseases can be spread by bathing, drinking, using dirty glasses, a multitude of ways, and common symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. But it can affect ears, eyes and skin. Diarrhea is a killer of children around the world. One relates developing countries to water pollution, but today even the USA estimates 4.32 million cases of acute gastrointestinal illnesses per year from polluted public water systems.
In the next column, we will cover the Lakeside villages that have taken the water problem into their own hands and the results they have achieved.
For all those unsung heroes that have seen all of us through a very bad year, you have no idea how much you are appreciated, and probably will never know. So many have risked their lives for us, especially the volunteers because you don’t have to...but you do it because you can.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com
MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING
Column: Profiling Tepehua
Settled in Mexico 13 years ago. The intention was to retire into the arts as a writer, poet and painter...that didn’t happen. Beneath the smiles of the peoples of Mexico there was such a great need for change, especially for the women and children of the barrios, Moonyeen has dedicated these years to change the face of this little corner of the world. The work done by the volunteers of the Tepehua Community Center is teaching that change is possible anywhere. Moonyeen was portrayed as “Woman of the Year,” also two Paul Harris Rotary awards for the work done at Tepehua. “Life in Mexico is very fulfilling. The Mexican people give so much more to us immigrants than we can possible return.