Health Promoters Prepare Palomas for COVID-19

Border Partners’ staff load food supplement boxes for distribution to families in need to strengthen their health and potential resistance to the pandemic.

We have good news: there have been no cases of COVID19 in Palomas (as of June 15). And, it may be, at least in part, due to the work of the Border Partners’ health promoters (promotoras). In March, when the virus became a threat, they quickly changed the focus of their work to helping needy families and vulnerable seniors weather this crisis.

Since then, thanks to the Paso del Norte Foundation and to Border Partners’ generous supporters, the four health promoters, assisted by Juan Rascon, have:

delivered a box of basic groceries and fresh vegetables, every two weeks to 20 needy families;

delivered a hot meal, five days each week, to 20 vulnerable seniors;

offered information about how to avoid contracting the COVID19 virus to the families and the seniors;

● opened their office Monday through Friday from 9 am to 12 pm, to offer screenings for depression and glucose levels and basic information about how to stay healthy during the pandemic, and

● earlier this year, helped the Mexican transit police screen people arriving into Palomas from the U.S.

In addition, they will soon be able to begin distributing masks. So far, this has been a missing piece of their prevention work. Now mask distribution will happen thanks to cooperation among three different groups begun under Border Partners! The women of Palomas OIlcloth Designs have agreed to make 200 masks at their cost. The Mexican nonprofit group, Amistad por Salud sin Fronteras, formed by local people involved with Border Partners agreed to pay for them. The Border Partners promotoras will distribute them!

One of the health promoters in Palomas, Gricelda Loya Loya, describes the great impact all this support makes on just one of those twenty families who receive the grocery supplement box:

One family in need, led by a single mom, holds their supplement box with appreciation and relief.

One of the families is that of “Doña L.” [editor’s note: name withheld]. She’s 70 years old and lives alone with her four grandchildren who are between two and nine years of age. Her situation is sad. She doesn’t have a job to support her grandchildren. And her daughter, the children’s mother, has been missing for two years. Since then, Doña L. has taken care of the children. She collects aluminum cans to sell so she can buy food. Every time we promotoras come to deliver the box of groceries, the children run out to meet us. They’re so happy to receive it. Doña L. thanks us very much for this help.”

Now, the COVID-19 situation has negatively affected her ability to support the grandchildren. She’s unable to find enough aluminum cans on the streets due to the shortages in the food and beverage supply chain. So, we promotoras are very happy to be able to help Doña L.. And, we’re pleased to see that the children so clearly appreciate this help that we bring to their family.”

Border Partners staff display the support that food baskets provide families in need. Their devoted work and the financial backing of our grantors and supporters make this possible.

Hello from the Health Promoters in Palomas!

promotora group

Palomas health promoters 2020. Back row, L to R:  Juana Flores, Gloria Aquilar, Gricelda Loya.  Front row, L to R: Victoria Ibarra and Cruz Espino

We’d like to introduce you to Border Partners’ Health Promoters (Promotoras). Thanks to your support, they’re active every day in Palomas helping keep people healthy. They do important work and deserve to have us all sing their praises!

Gricelda Loya

“Hello! My name is Gricelda Loya. I’m 34 years old, the same number of years that I’ve lived in Palomas! Yes, I was born here. I have four children. And they drive me to do my work each day. My three boys are 19, 16 and 8. My daughter is 11 years old. I also take care of my sister’s children. These six children are my motivation to teach residents of my community to maintain a healthy lifestyle and take care of their health. Thanks to Border Partners and your donations, this is possible.”

Gricelda (center) pictured with her children

“I was part of the original group of promotoras trained by Border Partners in 2012 and have continued working until now. We receive more training each year. For example, after we were trained about how to teach teenagers about healthy sexuality, another promotora and I started classes on sexuality for teenagers in Palomas.”

“My other job for Border Partners is Director of the Education Center where we have computers for people to use and classes to instruct them on their use.”

“I’m very grateful to be part of this great family called Border Partners. I like to learn and share what I learn, and I also love to help vulnerable people.”

Juana Flores

Juana

juana Flores bestows an award to a child for his healthy activity.

“Hello! My name is Juana Flores. I was born in the Valley of Zaragoza, Chihuahua, MX. I’m 45 years old. My husband and I have three children: two sons and a daughter. I’ve lived in Palomas for ten years and worked with Border Partners since February 2011, when I started helping with the garden program. When I began, the United States had just deported me to Mexico. I was very sad to be separated from my children who stayed in the U.S. with my mother. Working has helped me a lot.”

“I’ve been a promotora since 2012 and have learned many skills. I like my work because, in my community, families do not have a healthy diet and don’t get enough exercise. I think that, due to our health promotion work, people have learned a lot about nutrition and health. As a health promoter, I focus on learning about different health issues so I can teach others.”

“My favorite thing I do as a promotora is to teach Zumba classes!”

“My other area of work for Border Partners is supervising the garden program which coordinates very well with what we teach people about nutrition and the importance of eating healthy food.”

“Thank you for supporting our work in Palomas and for your confidence in me.”

Victoria (Vicky) Ibarra

Vicky ibarra

Delivering fresh garden vegetables to elderly residents is one of Vicky’s tasks.

“Hello, my name is Victoria (Vicky) Ibarra. I am originally from Oaxaca de Juárez. I’ve lived in Palomas for about nine years. My one daughter, Jennifer, is 15 years old and is a student at the College Preparatory High School. My husband, David, is a volunteer firefighter here in Palomas. We both like to serve the community.

Vicky grabs a selfie as she teaches a nutrition class to Palomas students.

Five years ago, I joined the Border Partners’ Health Promoters. I like this work that we do for the community, serving our older adults, children, and families who want our health knowledge. Before I came to Palomas, I worked as a volunteer Health Promoter in my rural community in southern Mexico. To all those people who support us, I want to thank you for everything you do for us. My family, also sends a cordial greeting.

Gloria Aguilar

gloria

Gloria snaps a selfie of the zumba class she’s leading.

“Hola! My name is Gloria Alicia Aguilar. I am from Chihuahua, Chihuahua, MX and have lived in Palomas for 23 years. I have four children – two daughters who are 20 and 19. My two sons are both 12! I am interested in educating my neighbors about health because my second daughter has had many illnesses since she the time she was born. Because I did not want to take her to the hospital so many times, I learned ways to take care of her at home (injections, using a nebulizer etc.) “

gloria family

Gloria (center) pictured with her family

“I love my job as a Health Promoter for Border Partners! It is difficult to choose one thing I like best but I would say knowing that I can help so many people to have a better quality of life is very pleasing to me.”

“For all the people that support Border Partners, I have so much gratitude for the great work you do for my community. It’s incredible to see the number of people who benefit thanks to you!”

Cruz Espino

“Hola! Hello! My name is Cruz Delia Simental Espino. I was born in the NIcolas Bravo municpality of Madera, Chihuahua, MX but I grew up in Cuidad Cuauhtémoc. I have lived for 30 years in Palomas and have two children, a son who is 29 and a daughter who is 20 years old. My work has always been helping people in my community. I feel very proud to belong to Border Partners because, like me, we all care about the welfare of people without discrimination. I am grateful for you believing in me and giving me the opportunity to perform my work in the interest of the people of Palomas. (The person who gives from the heart, multiplies with love.)”

Editor’s note: Cruz works with the Promotoras for about half of each year and works the other months in Deming at an agricultural processing plant. We first met her when she organized a group of neighbors to stop cars from driving through a city park near her house by digging a trench and standing old tires up in it to create a barrier. At the time, Border Partners was putting in play equipment including a climbing wall at that park.

Promotoras fight COVID-19 at border, in Palomas and beyond

covid19

Promotoras in personal protective equipment monitor temperatures at the port of entry.

promotoras fight covid19

Palomas Promotora Facebook post April 3, 2020

The Health Promoters (promotoras) in Palomas are now at the center of the local response to the COVID-19 virus. They work with the Palomas Health Center and government officials to soften the potential impact of the virus. The goal is to mitigate its spread. 

The health promoters (promotoras‘) training and experience prompted the project supervisor of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation to recommend their service in the fight of COVID-19. Thus, the Palomas Health Center engaged promotoras’ help and support during the COVID-19 contingency.

Promotoras work three hour shifts on days they can assist this effort. As part of their normal activity, they monitor temperatures of older adults in the Border Partners’ senior citizen program and of those who visit the office. 

Extraordinary Duties

But, in addition to their normal duties, the promotoras are screening people as they enter Mexico. Working with the Palomas police, the promotoras survey all border crossers. They check for anyone with elevated temperatures. Their presence supports the government health truck stationed immediately inside the Mexican border.

Any Mexican resident who registers a fever is placed on a two week quarantine. Border crossers from the United States who register a fever are turned back. Promotoras advise border crossers who present with any virus symptoms during the last seven days to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. They advise anyone who develops active symptoms to call 911 in their home community and follow local instructions.

Health Education 

The promoters provide prevention information for COVID-19 on their Facebook page. They meet with concerned people in their office, at the local health clinic. They respond to phone calls of residents who request information as well. The importance of social distancing and washing hands is their key focus. 

Nutrition Supplementation

Another component of the promotoras work is the delivery of food boxes. Twenty particularly needy families were identified as extremely food insecure. The promotoras deliver supplemental food allocations. In addition, they continue to deliver meals and monitor the health of many Palomas senior citizens.  We’ll will write more about these activities in our next website post, coming soon.

Promotoras Gift Garden Veggies to Older Residents of Palomas

duo

Promotora Gloria Aguilar (L) and Viky Ibarra (R) delighted Palomas elders with garden grown vegetables and a home visit.

Promotoras Gloria Aguilar and Viky Ibarra cut, washed, and hand delivered fresh BP garden-grown vegetables to seniors in the Palomas community.

deliveryEllos al vernos que llegamos a visitarlos estuvieron felices. Muy contentas nos recibieron e incluso nos dicen que volvamos a cortar vegetales y llevarles. Ellas estan muy agradecidas por la visita de nosotras.// When they saw us arrive to visit them, they were happy. They were very happy–and they even told us to cut more vegetables and come back again. They are very grateful for our visit,” said Viky.

To help support projects such as this tell your friends and family about this year’s Give Grandly event at the Silver City Farmer’s Market on May 11!  Visit givegrandly.org or more information and https://givegrandly.civicore.com/borderpartners to donate, beginning May 4. One generous Border Partners supporter has promised to double every contribution we receive that day! Find out more HERE on our website. Your donation on May 11 will mean so much to us. Thanks for your ongoing support!

For updates on this project and others, continue to visit our website or check our Facebook page, Instagram, and follow #BorderPartners.

Border Partners’ 12th Semi-Annual Health Fair – 12a Feria de salud semestral de Border Partners

healthy exercise

The 12th annual Health Fair is a celebration of good health in Palomas.

Free haircuts

Join us Friday April 26th, from 10am to 4pm, at the main plaza in Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico!
There will be FREE diabetes, hypertension and HIV detection, children and adult vaccinations, anti-rabies vaccinations, oral health screenings, renewal of insurance, healthy burritos, cardiovascular exercises (ZUMBA), activities for children, family planning counseling, advice on nutrition (NUTRIOLOGO), addiction counseling (CAPA – Addiction Care Center), eyesight testing, gardening tips, and haircuts! ALL FOR FREE!

Download flier in English HERE

displays and consultations

Displays and consultations

¡Únase a nosotros el viernes 26 de abril, de 10am a 4pm, en la plaza principal de Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua, México!
Habra GRATIS detecciones de diabetes, hipertensión y VIH, para niños y adulto vacunación y antirrábica, detecciones de salud bucal, Afiliación Y renovación del SEGURO POPULAR, Demostración del burrito saludable, Ejercicios cardiovascular (ZUMBA), Actividades para niños (JUEGOS), Asesoría de planificación familiar, Asesoría en nutrición (NUTRIOLOGO, Asesoría en adicciones, (CAPA – Centro de Atención para Adicciones), Detecciones de la vista, Jardinería, Concurso para niños de talento, y Corte de cabello, TODO GRATIS!

Descarga el folleto aquí

Health fair flier 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

espanol health fair 2019

Promotoras Sponsor Sports Day March 30, Open New Preschool Playground

VIVA LOS DEPORTES! Long live sports in Palomas!

girls-soccer

Boys and girls’ teams engaged in lively competition at the sports day tournament.

puppet show stage

Puppet shows are more fun on a real stage.

On Saturday, March 30, the Border Partners Promotoras organized a day of soccer and volleyball games–Sports Day. At the same time, they opened a new children’s playground at the Border Partners’ Sports Center. Teams of boys and girls attended Sports Day, coming from various schools in Palomas and also from the high school in La Victoria, a small town south of Palomas. More than 100 children and adults enjoyed the competition. Music, healthy burritos with lots of veggies, and rides on an amazing swing added additional highlights to the event.

Gricelda Loya, President of the Promotoras, opened the event by saying that they had two objectives in mind as they planned the day.
Their first objective was to help youth reap the benefits of physical activity. This is a long-held value of the Promotoras. Secondly, Loya announced a tournament that the Promotoras will hold in May. They started to recruit teams for the tournament at the Sports Day event.

toddler climbing wall

Toddler Climbing Wall

The new children’s playground was built by local workers under the direction of Peter Edmunds. It’s designed to include activities especially meant for very young children, allowing them to play safely while their parents watch games at the Center. The new playground includes: a miniature climbing wall, a tunnel, a tire structure for climbing and a puppet stage.

People of all ages benefit from healthy exercise!

Enjoy these photos that document the joy and activity of the day, Sports Day March 30 in Palomas! Click any photo to see it in full size.

12 New Greenhouses Improve Health, Nutrition in Palomas

12 New Greenhouses

Ramona (left), veteran gardener, and Juana (right), Border Partners garden coordinator, review winter veggies almost ready to harvest.

While people in the northern US are still shoveling snow this month, families in Palomas, Chihuahua, MX are harvesting fresh lettuce for their dinner salads. Only a few years ago, diabetes was epidemic there and fresh vegetables not available. In response to residents’ requests to help them improve health, Border Partners introduced raised-bed, covered gardens in 2009. Gardeners have raised healthy vegetables year-round in this small border outpost ever since.

greenhouses veggies

Nutrition-packed, leafy green vegetables thrive in greenhouses during the cool winter climate of the high desert.

But since last fall, thanks to grant funding from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, production is blossoming! Twelve experienced gardeners now have home greenhouses (12’ x 15’) where they can increase their production. This month they’re harvesting celery, spinach, chard, kale, beets, cilantro, radishes and broccoli–in addition to that lettuce. These are all crops that thrive in cool weather. Since temperatures in this high desert town often fall into the 20’s overnight in January and February, these crops grow very well.

Peter Edmunds, Border Partners’ general manager explains:

“Greenhouses are about control. Throughout the year, the extremes of summer heat and winter cold are controlled. Greenhouse gardening, if done right, lets the gardener use every square foot of space–all year.”

Greenhouse Construction

greenhouse construction

Home gardeners worked together to help each other build the home greenhouses, using materials provided by a grant from Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Border Partners provided the materials for the greenhouses. But the gardeners constructed the greenhouses themselves, working together with our gardening staff. Each recipient agreed at the outset to contribute forty hours of labor to help build all the greenhouses. Twelve are now completed at family homes. These families not only eat the vegetables they grow themselves but generally they also share them with extended family and neighbors.

Two larger greenhouses will be built in March at elementary schools. Palomas school children will learn how to garden and will harvest vegetables to use for their own school lunch programs.

Next Priority: Rainwater Capture

In March, each gardener in the program will receive a rainwater catchment barrel and eave troughs to collect water from the roof of their home for watering the greenhouse. This promotes production since they’re gardening in the desert–where every drop of water is precious. And that highlights another advantage of greenhouse gardening: soil needs less water because it’s protected from direct sunlight.

Border Partners places strong emphasis on its gardening program because of the potential that better access to fresh vegetables has for making significant changes in community health.

Better Health through Biking: Supporting Bike Race Day 2018

70K winner

Edgar Loya Becerra winner of the 70K bike race is pictured with Palomas Mayor Ramon Rodriguez (left).

A favorite event for the village of Palomas, the second annual bike race–the Carrera Villista–drew bike teams from Juarez, Ascención and Nuevo Casas Grandes to join local Palomas residents in competition on Sunday, February 18. Border Partners’ promotoras supported both the civic event and the health of all competitors by distributing fruit and drinks supplied by Border Partners.

The town’s streets were lined with smiling well wishers who observed and rooted for their favorites. Border Partners promotoras provided fruit and drinks to the racers both along the 35K and 70K route between Entronque and Palomas and at the finish. Thirty-three racers participated in the 70 km race that routed from Palomas to Entronque and returned. Twenty-eight cyclists, including a woman from far away Denver, Colorado, competed in the 33 km race that started at Entronque and finished in Palomas. Border Partners’ Juana Flores distributed fruit and drinks midway between Entronque and Palomas.

Mayor Ramon Rodriguez and the entire village support this event. Reaching beyond residents of Palomas, the race also attracted a large group of approximately 40 bike enthusiast participants from Cuidad Juarez, the major metropolitan center two hours away. This year’s event prompted a visit from two medalists from Club Soles of Juarez: Zanya Aguirre Avila, National Champion and Gold medalist at Mexico City and 6-year-old Yaretzi Aguirre, National Silver medalist. 

children's race

And they’re off! Children pump hard as they race to the edge of town and back to the center of Palomas.

In addition to the two adult races, there was also a children’s bike race that featured twenty-five participants, including a group from Juarez. The children started at the government plaza in downtown Palomas, rode to end of village and returned to center. Two toddlers on striders ran along behind the older children: Sebastian Peres, a 2-year-old from Club Soles of Juarez, and Itzael Aguirre, 3 yrs old.

toddler competitors

Palomas Mayor Ramon Rodriguez (right) honored the two youngest competitors, aged two and three-years, at Carrera Villista.

Fall 2017 Health Fair in Palomas

fall 2017 health fair

A Palomas mother brings her daugher to the Fall 2017 Health Fair in Palomas for a screening

The Promotoras (Health Promoters) in Palomas held their fall 2017 health fair on Saturday October 28. While the Promotoras work year around to provide medical screening services and education to local residents, this biannual event has proved to be a good way to bring awareness to health issues and recruit new clients by providing a fun and entertaining atmosphere.

An estimated 350 people attended Saturday’s event in the main plaza, which was vibrating with activity and color. The street was lined with booths selling craft items made from recycled materials, the health screening tent, burrito stand and a bounce house for children. Another attraction was a Matachines dance troupe from the San Judas Tadeo church in Juarez and a display of zumba dancing.

Fall 2017 Health Fair Improvements

This year, the Promotoras used a new system to encourage people to take advantage of their health screening services. After their screening, residents received a ticket they could exchange for a healthful vegetarian burrito stuffed with beans and fresh, multi-colored vegetables. With help from 15 students from the telebachillerato school, the Promotoras served 240 vegetarian burritos.

matachines

The matachines added a colorful, joyous dance to the Fall 2017 Health Fair in Palomas.

Earth Day 2017 in Palomas: A multi-faceted, meaningful celebration

Earth Day 2017 banner

Colorful flags decorated the Earth Day 2017 event, created by area school children.

On Saturday April 22 Border Partners’ staff planned, organized and hosted an Earth Day 2017 celebration in Palomas, Mexico. It was a perfect opportunity to show off many local projects that benefit the community and planet earth!  

earth day 2017

Earth Day 2017 marketplace sold plants, seeds, and lots of garden produce, among other items.

There were activities for the whole family!

The promotoras were busy serving free vegetarian burritos filled with fresh vegetables from local gardens. 

Nearby, gardening coordinator Juana Lozoya was selling bags of freshly-picked parsley, celery and chard that were grown in the community greenhouses she oversees.

Kids and adults brought their bicycles to be repaired.

There were also health screenings and haircuts, zumba and games for kids!

Posters made by local school students decorated the area!

Earth Day 2017–Special Features

In honor of Earth Day, Border Partners’ volunteers converted the golf cart used by staff to visit home gardens to solar power! Juana Flores, who often drives it, reported, “It works better than it ever did!” She was giving rides to demonstrate.

Students from two Palomas high schools used the event as an opportunity to showcase solar appliances they made with help from Border Partners staff using recycled materials. These included two solar box cookers, a water purifier and a solar water heater.  

Solar Cooker Prototype

Earth Day 2017

Daniel Maya demonstrated his prototype of a parabolic solar cooker during the Earth Day event.

Students from the prepatoria (high school) were demonstrating a parabolic solar cooker made from an old satellite dish and lined with glass pieces. Project leader, Daniel Maya said, “You can cook a pot of beans in about two hours and you save two hours of gas.” Maya said that the model on display was a prototype and they plan to make a larger version to be used at the school.

The event drew a steady crowd. People from both sides of the border enjoyed the music, ate healthful food and admired colorful, locally-made craft items. Many items were made with recycled materials: soda pop pull-tabs crocheted together became colorful handbags and old jeans were transformed into aprons.  It was a fun and educational day for all!

Enjoy the colors and the activity of the day in our Flickr album:

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