Why I Volunteer With Wuqu’ Kawoq – Maya Health Alliance in Guatemala

Margaret Haley Rhodes Undergraduate Intern

To Learn how to Design Health and Development Programs that Preserve Dignity, Empower Humans and Ensure Basic Rights.

Hi! I am Margaret Haley Rhodes….Margarita, as they would say in  Guatemala, and Haley in the US. I am a rising junior at Davidson College outside of Charlotte, NC.

I am pursuing degrees in both public health and Hispanic studies, meaning my academic coursework is a fascinating compilation of anthropology, biology, sociology, and history. At a community center near campus, I work as a medical translator, academic mentor, and have most recently stepped into the role of director of the center’s nutritional education program, Ada Cooks! that offers weekly cooking classes in Spanish and English for low socioeconomic adults and children.

I am currently living in Guatemala and working with Wuqu’ Kawoq – Maya Health Alliance until the end of November 2014. I am taking a leave of absence from Davidson to conduct my thesis research that examines the relationship between maternal purpose in life/autonomy and child nutritional status (stunting). In the future, I hope to attend medical school and work with immigrant maternal and child health in the United States.

Wuqu’ Kawoq – Maya Health Alliance is providing me with an excellent opportunity to learn about the importance of ethnomedicine; giving value to the culture of the people we serve by the commitment to provide care in the primary language and study regional politics and tradition. I admire this approach and believe that it is important to understand Guatemalan culture and history in order to design programs that preserve dignity, empower humans and ensure their basic rights.

Research interests: holistic health, immigrant maternal health, maternal and child nutrition, women’s empowerment, Latin American history, public health policy, non-profit impact.