It had been almost a year since our last visit to Venezuela, and we had the pleasure of returning to the land of the Catatumbo lightning, which surrounds the great Maracaibo lake basin in the state of Zulia. As usual, we enjoyed both getting to know new places as well as reconnecting with long time friends.
On this trip we had several opportunities to share our work at the University Hospital of Maracaibo known as SAHUM, from its Spanish language initials. This house of healing and wisdom is the largest hospital in
Venezuela, with almost 6,000 employees, and it is the first site for Service of Attention and Orientation for the Indigenous (SAOI), where they attend to indigenous patients and families from
the Wayuu, Añu, Yukpa, Bari, and Japreria Peoples, amongst others. Indigenous peoples make up 50 to 60% of the patients attended at the SAHUM.
Since Doctor Noly Fernández became the General Director of SAHUM in
the middle of last year, and as co-founder of the National Directorate
for Indigenous Health, Doctor Fernández has created and pushed for
intercultural policies in healthcare. SAHUM has incorporated foods from
the typical diet of the Wayuu and other indigenous peoples that live in
Zulia, including a non fermented chicha de maíz (corn drink), as part of the
hospital menu in this area. Besides incorporating traditional food in
the hospital menu, they have also achieved using hammocks in the
pediatric area for recently born babies, and are educating the
Gynecology and Obstetrics staff on the importance of vertical childbirth.
SAHUM now has an Environmental Management Sector, that seeks to work
with existing ecological projects in the city of Maracaibo and in the
state of Zulia, to strengthen the development of sustainable
environmental initiatives that give more life and culture to different
spaces in the hospital.
We bees had the opportunity to share the Mesoamérica Resiste graphic
in three different spaces at SAHUM, with staff, directors, and
community members that support the hospital's efforts. In these spaces
we were able to ground the ideas of replacing hydrocarbon mega-projects
for generating electricity with solar or wind mega-projects, and talk
about how those are not necessarily solving all of the problems related
to our current model of energy generation.
It´s really important to distribute energy generation so that it´s
not centralized, and SAHUM could be an ideal space for a pilot project
for small and medium scale solar and wind power, so that they could
generate part of the energy they consume.
Along with energy production, sorting the waste produced by the
hospital is another topic that the Environmental Management Sector is
bringing up. By separating solid waste, cafeteria and kitchen scraps,
along with leaves from the trees, they can make compost or organic
fertilizer, which will not only meet the needs of the landscaping staff,
but will also strengthen the gardens of medicinal plants that they are
growing at the hospital.
In all of the spaces where we were able to share the stories in the
Mesoamérica Resiste graphic, we were received with enthusiasm by
everyone present, and everyone shared their deep appreciation for the
initiatives of the Beehive and the work of Polinizaciones that brings us
to so many different spaces, sharing the reality of the world we live
in through these drawings.
Photos thanks to the Press Team of SAHUM