During the 2 years that he has worked with Amigos, trust has been formed, and so when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, he naturally took the advice of the staff when they first visited and handed out the packs full of masks, soap, alcohol and Clorox.
Oscar is now adamant that his grandchildren maintain good hygiene and cleanliness. He makes even the youngest- 5 year olds Muriel and Haley, watch the latest health talk about animals and the diseases that they may transmit from ticks, fleas and feces.
He hopes that Amigos continues to teach and guide. “I want to learn how other diseases work now! Not only to keep me and my family healthy, but also my neighbors and community”
To date, Oscar says that very few people have gotten sick of COVID-19 in their community, and if they have, symptoms have only been mild. He is not aware of any deaths attributed to COVID-19.
As we visited, I witnessed the trust between the Amigos health promoter and the family. It was evident that there was deep affection and even a renewed sense of enthusiasm. Massiel Velasquez, a talented health promoter, used the time to chat with Oscar about his fields and his family, intentionally being a friend, before she began talking about other health issues. She explained the need to cleanse the house of animals, explaining that they are disease carrying vectors. Massiel spoke to the family in a way that was educational, but also understandable. Even the youngest granddaughter, Muriel, could understand the lesson. She now says she doesn’t want pigeon OR chickens in the house! Muriel and her cousin Haley happily showed off her “clean” doll’s home to me.
The entire family paused in mid-day to listen, learn and ask questions. There was no rush, no disgust at the dirt – only self-effacing laughter as Massiel talked about the filthiness of chicken’s feet and how they should NEVER be in the kitchen…just as a rooster jumped on the earthen stove to crow!
“I guess I need to shoo her off,” said Oscar’s daughter as she got up and waved a broom at the offending rooster.
While showing a picture example on the iPad, Massiel suggested making a simple fence out of local branches.
“I could do that,” said Oscar, as they all nodded along.
As we were leaving, Massiel simply stated the beautiful truth underneath the whole visit. “I love being with these people. They want just what I want – to be healthy and happy.”