Teaching seems to be this week’s theme. Three of us are to complete our teaching projects over the course of the next five days and we are all to complete our aggregate project on Friday. Today, I taught about women’s nutrition and blood pressure to Vaso de Leche, our beloved women’s group. This is a topic in which they requested information, and I was happy to provide what knowledge I could.
I decided to conduct my presentation entirely in Spanish. I figured I would be able to say more without having to deal with a translator, and also relate to my audience better. There were about thirty women there today to listen and learn. I split my project up into a few sections that I thought most relevant to what the women wanted to learn. First and foremost, I talked about the basics of nutrition, and why it is important to eat well. Simplistically, people must eat well to feel good.
Secondly, I thought it would be important for the these women to learn about the FDA's nutrition programs that we have in the United States. For those of you who don't know, the MyPyramid program has recently changed into Choose My Plate, a demonstration of color-coded portion control. I gave the women hand-outs in Spanish describing the new nutrition guide.
New FDA Program
I explained which foods were in each food group and described healthy options. Next, I focused on women's nutrition specifically. When a woman is pregnant, she must consume certain vitamins, such as folic acid and calcium, and I described each and gave food examples. I showed why it is important for women to receive prenatal care and what to eat while pregnant and breastfeeding.
My next topic circulated around adolescent girls, and how older women should approach them and their eating habits. When I conferenced with Cecilia, the clinic's gynecological doctor, she told me that eating disorders are actually quite prevalent in the area. Unfortunately, due to shame and embarrassment, girls do not talk about it and the problem is usually left unaddressed. I told the women that it's okay to chat with young girls about their eating habits, and that prevention of eating disorders is important for their future growth and fertility.
My focus shifted next to blood pressure and how to control it. The women wanted education on this topic, so I was sure to include the basics of what blood pressure exactly is. The fundamentals of this can be confusing, so I did my best to describe it in a way that wasn't ridden with medical jargon. There's high blood pressure and low, and to keep it in control, diet and exercise must be improved. Unfortunately, stress runs rampant here in Peru, and this is one of the main causes of hypertension. I taught a brief relaxation and breathing exercise for the women to do daily in order to decrease their stress. To conclude, I, along with the rest of the MU nurses, took blood pressures of the group. Many of them wanted to know if their numbers were high or low and had questions about stress management. We were happy to provide answers.
In the past, I've normally gotten pre-presentation nerves. However, it's a whole different situation when the speech is in a different language. Luckily, with the help of Cecilia and an online translator, I was able to complete my powerpoint presentation and deliver it smoothly. I'm thankful that I had such great help and that my accidental stuttering over words was kept to a minimum. Overall, I am pleased that the women will take this information back to the villages and share it with others.