Mae Ardón, who lives in Panajachel, Guatemala, shared: “A pattern started arising in the communities as soon as the country ‘reopened’ back in August, of not trusting public health services and doubting official information channels. The population in rural areas started looking for alternatives to treat the symptoms of Covid at home, relying on local Mayan healing practitioners, volunteer emergency services, and non-profit organizations. It really puts into perspective how necessary services like the ones provided by ASSADE are, not only for the inadequacy or lack of public services but also for the trust that the community has in them. If it were not for these alternatives, people would not have a place to go to.
But it is also alarming to realize the amount of pressure that is being put on organizations with such limited resources, that are having to amplify their fundraising efforts in the midst of a crisis and work with limited supplies while putting their own lives at risk. The skepticism towards official information has also resulted in the relaxation of prevention measures. There are entire communities who have collectively decided to not wear masks, and the overall restrictions are not being enforced properly, which is now contributing to the problem.”