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Describing Pain in Hospitals Without Indigenous Language Services

Mexico

Image on flickr by user Buen Rumbo ((CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Without medical professionals fluent in indigenous languages or without proper interpretation services in Mexican hospitals, there is a risk that patients will not be able to adequately describe what ails them, writes Yásnaya Aguilar in her regular blog column for EstePaís. She provides examples how the Mixe language allows her to more accurately describe her pain to a nurse or doctor that can speak the same language, and how a translation into Spanish can still be somewhat limiting. She writes,

En mixe por ejemplo tengo un conjunto de palabras distinto para nombrar el dolor físico: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp… Apenas hallo equivalentes para alguna en español. Las diferencias todavía son más grandes y hay momentos en los que sólo puedo describir un dolor en español o sólo alcanzo a nombrarlo en mixe. Hablar ambas lenguas me permite tener a mi servicio un inventario más nutrido de palabras para describir mi dolor, aunque en general, cuando algo me duele mucho, el mixe toma el control de mis pensamientos.

For example, in mixe I have a group of distinct words available to me to describe physical pain: pëjkp, jäjp, pä’mp, we’tsp. I'm barely able to find the equivalent words for these words in Spanish. The differences are very large and there are times when I can only describe the pain in Spanish and there are other times when I can only describe the pain in Mixe. Being able to speak both languages allows me to have at my disposal a richer inventory of words to describe my pain, although generally, when something is causing me a lot of pain, the Mixe language takes control of my thoughts.

The universal right to health care cannot be guaranteed when the majority of hospitals have no medical practitioners that speak indigenous languages and because interpretation can only go so far since they do not have the same knowledge of the human body. And she adds that this could potentially cause misdiagnoses and without these language services, “there is no way to build bridges of empathy and to effectively understand that your ‘it hurts’ could also be the same as mine.”

About Homeland, Lanterns, Parades and Independence in Costa Rica

Desfile realizado en Aguas Zarcas, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Imagen en Flickr del usuario  Allan Javier Aguilar Castillo (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Parade organized in Aguas Zarcas, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Image on Flickr by user Allan Javier Aguilar Castillo (CC BY-SA 2.0).

On her blog Anchas Alamedas, Solentiname remembers how she used to spend Costa Rica independence day, September 15, when she was a schoogirl, and the parades with lanterns and flags:

Teníamos estandarte y era un honor reservado para los mejores estudiantes de todo el colegio y solo tres: el que lo llevaba y dos a cada lado, que además quisieran quedarse practicando después de clases en la cancha de basketball el izquier dos tres cuatro.

Teníamos bastoneras. Las más lindas de cada nivel eran las bastoneras. Podían mover el bastón igual que las muchachas que veíamos en la tele y usaban uniformes de enaguas cortas y voladas, hombreras militares y sombreros de circo. Y las botas. Unas botas lindísimas con tiritas y botones dorados.
[...]
El año en que el Ministerio decidió imponer por la fuerza el uniforme único, nos advirtió que al desfile iban todos de celeste y azul o no íbamos. Fuimos, pero con el uniforme de gala que ese año se diseño aun exuberante. [...] Como resultado, nos castigaron por cinco años en los que no pudimos participar en nada, solo como pelotón común y corriente y, por supuesto, vestidos de azul y de celeste.

We had standard and it was an honor reserved for the best students of the whole school, just three: the one who carried it and two by each sides, that would want to stay practicing after school in the basketball field the “left, two three four”.

We had baton twirlers. The prettiest girls of each class were the baton twirlers. They could handle the baton just as the girls we saw on TV and wore uniforms of short skirts, military shoulder pads and circus hats. And the boots. The prettiest boots with golden strips and buttons.
[...]
The year the Ministry decided to impose by force the same uniform for everybody, we were warned that for the parade we must wear the light blue and the blue, or we shouldn't go at all. We went, but in our full uniform, that that year had still a lush design. [...] As a result, we were punished for five years during which we weren't able to participate in anything, just as a regular platoon and, of course, wearing the light blue and the blue.

She ends up with a nostalgic reflection about the idea of homeland:

15 de setiembre no me despierta la noción de patria, ya ni siquiera para reclamar una independencia verdadera. Apenas me vuelve aquella sensación de tostamiento e insolación, la participación forzada y un terrible cansancio y, cada año, dedico un ratito del día feriado a imaginar en detalle el farolito ingenioso que hubiera hecho y lo lindo que se hubiera visto encendido una noche de lluvia, la víspera de la independencia de Centroamérica.

September 15 doesn't make me feel the idea of homeland, not even to claim a true independence. I just feel again that sensation of tan and sunstroke, the forced participation and a terrible fatigue and, every year, I dedicate a little moment of the holiday to imagine in detail the ingenious lantern I'd have made and how beautifully lit it would be during a rainy night, on the eve of the independence of Central America.

Unusual Uniform for Colombian Women's Cycling Team Sparks Social Media Chatter

The Bogotá Humana female cycling team's uniform has been the target of criticism and jokes because of its unfortunate color scheme that gives the illusion of a nude body. The red and yellow uniform, to be word at the road bicycle race Giro di Toscana, contains a beige strip that goes from the waist to the groin.

Twitter users have commented on the uniform:

Interesting Colombian female cyclist uniform.

For the uniforms of the female Colombian cyclists, did they take a picture for each one or a generic pussy was used?

The reaction to the uniform of Colombian cyclists is astonishing. The scandal is global. They are not naked, don't be that lurid.

A Meteorite Causes a Scare But No Damage in Nicaragua's Capital

Meteorito El Chaco. Imagen en Flickr del usuario  Scheihing Edgardo (CC BY 2.0).

Meteorite, Imagen on Flickr by user Scheihing Edgardo (CC BY 2.0).

A strong blast shook the northern area of the Nicaraguan capital city Managua around midnight on Saturday, September 6, 2014. The cause was a meteorite's impact. No one was injured nor was damage caused.

The loud noise alarmed the families that live nearby. Some fled from their houses fearing an earthquake.

A meteorite struck Nicaragua's capital.

The impact of a meteorite causes an explosion in Managua.

An Election Film Week in Lebanon to Say #NoToExtension of Parliament Term

What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.

Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies)  in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:

We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon. 

The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.

To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.

The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.

The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.

Massive Participation in Earthquake Drill in Mexico

On September 19, 1985, the center, South and West regions of Mexico, in particular the Federal District, were struck by a powerful earthquake, considered the most lethal in Mexican written history. Conmemorating the event 29 year later, the Secretary for Civil Protection of Federal District organized an earthquake drill, for the population to know how to act in these events. The people participated massively, in the capital and in other cities of the country.

We carried out successfully the evacuation due to earthquake, remembering what happened in 1985 in Mexico City.

An estimated of 17,000 buildings were evacuated during the drill.

Rolando Zapata's Yucatán government has carried out historic drill in the Palace.

Tlalnepantla joins the megaearthquake driill organized in the State of Mexico.

The drill is not only to honor the victims of the earthquake, it's also about society vs bureaucracy.

Migrant Children from Central America Are Not Mere Statistics

Niños migrantes en clase. Imagen en Flickr del usuario pies cansados (CC BY-ND 2.0) .

Migrant children in a schooclass. Image on Flickr by user pies cansados (CC BY-ND 2.0).

In an opinion piece for the American newspaper Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Global Voices contributor Jamie Stark wonders, “What kind of parent would pay $10,000 for a stranger to bring a child 1,400 miles through gangland and hostile border crossings? A good parent, perhaps.”

As a concerned citizen about the crisis of migrant children, Stark reflects:

What do we do with these kids? An important decision, to be certain, but one that overlooks the humanity, the story, of each child crossing our border.
[...]
When a parent from Central America hears the rumor that children are being allowed to stay in the U.S., it's not so hard to imagine spending life savings of $10,000 to $15,000 for a stranger to guide a son or daughter north.
[...]
These kids are not mere statistics. Many never wanted to be here in the first place.

Global Voices has published stories on this issue in the past:
- The Humanitarian Tragedy of Children Emigrating Alone
- An Open Letter to Salvadoran Migrant Children
- Trafficked Ecuadorian Children Pass Through Hell on the Way to the US

An NGO in Peru Feeds Pelicans to Prevent Them From Starving

Pelícanos blancos. Foto en Flickr del usuario  jacinta lluch valero (CC BY-SA 2.0).

White pelicans. Photo on Flickr by user jacinta lluch valero (CC BY-SA 2.0).

At the estuary of Moche river in the northern Peruvian province of Trujillo, members of the NGO Corazones Bondadosos (Generous Hearts) fed more than 400 pelicans with fresh fish to prevent their starvation.

Collective ‘Corazones Bondadosos’ (Generous Hearts) feeds pelicans in Trujillo. Noble gesture. They ask authorities to support them.

Dead pelicans are a health hazard.

In late August, about 120 dead pelicans were buried at the beach Las Delicias, located in the same area. They were buried six feet under the sand and then covered with lime to prevent potential illnesses.

Celebrating Day of Lunfardo, Port of Buenos Aires Dialect

Carlos Gardel. Imagen en Twitter de la usuaria  Luciana Monte (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Carlos Gardel alley. Image on Twitter by user Luciana Monte (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

As has happened every September 5 since the year 2000, Buenos Aires celebrated the Day of Lunfardo, a dialect that originated and developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the lower classes of the city. From there, it spread to other cities nearby.

Originally, it was slang used by criminals and afterward by other people of the lower and lower-middle classes, but later, many of its words and phrases were introduced in the vernacular and disseminated in the Castilian of Argentina and Uruguay.

The tango “Mi noche triste” (My sad night), written by Pascual Contursi and popularized by Carlos Gardel, was the first song to use Lunfardo on its lyrics.

Twitter users remembered the date:

Today, September 5, we celebrate Day of Lunfardo.

My mom used to speak it with amazing fluency, probably because she learned it at very early age.

Today it's Day of Lunfardo, the language of the port of Buenos Aires.

NGO Organizes First Interview via Twitter

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NGO Dominemos la Tecnología (Let's master technology) invites to the first #TweetInterview “From softactivism to thinking of a network as a space to protest”, to be held on September 1 from 11 to 13 hs (local time, -3 UTC). The event will take place on Twitter with the participation of political expert and journalist Natalia Zuazo (@nataliazzz), who is currently writing the book “Wars on the Internet”. 

This collective cyberdebate aims to reflect on the impact of cyberactivism, how digital disputes counter disputes on public space, among other topics. You can submit your questions and opinions to @DominemoslasTIC.

The NGO was created on 2006 by a group of women from different parts of the world that advocte for online collaboration for social change and the empowerment of women by using information and communication technologies. Their objective is to raise awareness in internet users (especially young and adult women) to control ICT to end violence against women.

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