Mural by Dagoberto Rodriguez–a source of pride


New mural on Community Learning Center at the Palomas Public Library will galvanize public attention on the new opportunities that the room will facilitate.

Local artist Dagoberto Ridriguez is transforming our new Community Learning Center on the Palomas Public Library into a real work of art.

He is using cement to create a bas relief, or three diminsional, effect.

The mural makes the Learning Center a real focal point of the community. This, in turn, will grab the attention of the townspeople and invite them to utilize the Center to develop their skills, increase their knowledge, and unleash greater personal potential.

We will follow this progress as it continues. But so are the people of Palomas. On the town’s official Facebook page, there are currently 37 “Likes” for the album of 8 photos of the construction and its adornment. You will need a Facebook account to see this entry and the comments it has accrued, and you will also need to “friend” the page “Puerto Palomas de Villa.”

Promotora group trained to combat disease, promote wellness in Palomas

promotoras focus on Mexico's health crisis

Health promoters, called Promotoras, focus on addressing Mexico’s health crisis during recent training in Palomas

Hypertension and diabetes are epidemic in Mexico. Seventeen million people ages 20-69 are diagnosed with hypertension.  Fourteen million adults have high cholesterol or triglycerides and six million more have diabetes 2. All of these diseases are related to being overweight! All of them can be prevented by making different personal choices.

These stunning facts opened the second training sponsored by Border Partners of a group of Promotoras (Health Educators) on August 27-29 in Palomas. Mexico’s health status underlines the importance of equipping citizens to meet epidemic needs. Three days of training last month launched these new trainees with:

  • a basic understanding of hypertension and diabetes,
  • skills empowering the new promotoras to assess disease risk factors, and
  • updated recommendations from professionals on disease prevention and control.

The trainees were active learners, using a “hands-on” approach and valuing their opportunity to learn the use of genuine medical instruments to measure blood pressure and blood sugar.

promotora measures blood sugar

Mayela takes Josefina’s glucose during the promotora training, using an authentic medical glucometer.

The promotoras also learned the Five Steps Program, an effort in Mexico to raise public awareness of the steps individuals can take to improve their own health and avoid hypertension and diabetes. The Five Steps/Cinco Pasos are:

  1. Move!  Get more exercise:  30 minutes per day for adults, 60 minutes per day for children.
  2. Drink water!  5-10 glasses each day. Dehydration plays a big part in the development of chronic disease.
  3. Eat vegetables and fruits!
  4. Maintain good emotional health!
  5. Share information with others!

The promotoras are now equipped with several strategies for lowering the numbers of people with chronic health problems in their community. The training emphasized utilizing education campaigns, screening events, exercise classes, and support groups as grassroots efforts that will address these health needs.

The promotora group received their initial training in June. Border Partners is pleased to be part of the process of advancing health through community action.

Promotora training group and trainers, August 2012

Promotora training group and trainers, August 2012

Addressing Mexico’s severe drought with rainwater harvesting and graywater reuse

The severe drought currently cursing Mexico has not spared the northern state of Chihuahua. The drought has already cost farmers more than a billion dollars in crop losses alone and set back the national cattle herd for years, reports Reuters. Experts say this is only the beginning, that Mexico faces a drier future.

Van Clothier

Van Clothier (Image source: Amazon)

The grant we’ve received from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission allowed us to bring a regional expert on water conservation to Palomas this month. Van Clothier, a certified water harvester, taught us about rainwater harvesting and graywater reuse possibilities for Palomas buildings. Van is the author of Let the Water Do the Work: Induced Meandering and owns Stream Dynamics, Inc., a watershed restoration business located in Silver City, New Mexico.

Van’s expertise helped us assess the suitability from among several houses for the graywater re-use systems we’ll be constructing. He also helped our team evaluate the entire block of property that houses the public library and the funeral building the town has allowed Border Partners use to house our woodworking shop.  His consultation is a prelude to setting up rainwater harvesting and shaping the land so that the water flows to the trees on the property.

Van suggested some simple ways to form what amount to rainwater gardens. We’ll construct depressions in the land to catch rainwater flow. Plants can then grow around the perimeter of these rainwater basins. Alternatively, a tree can anchor the central position in the rainwater garden if it’s established so as to protect the root ball.

An added bonus is that the BECC grant will enable us to hire several people from Palomas to work on the project. This gives the town a boost economically and is a welcome income source for local families.

Van Clothier gave us lots of ideas and, best of all, we learned that some of what we want to accomplish will be simpler and less expensive than we originally thought. That’s priceless information as we prepare for more dry years to come.