How this Indigenous nurse is determined to heal her community

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By: Miguel Hernandez

(Listen to our audio in Spanish and Mixteco, 4 min)

Maria Garcia is a recent nurse who graduated from California State University Channel Islands and is now on a heroic journey to help her community, which is mostly made up of agricultural workers who view their own health as something secondary. María comes from Asunción, Oaxaca, and her first language was Zapotec, and she, more than anyone, understands the systematic and economic difficulties that prevent various members of her community from going to the doctor when they need help.  

Maria’s biggest concern is that members of her community are living with treatable diseases and that, due to lack of attention, can cause major health problems. In an interview with Maria, she revealed the endless problems her community faces when it comes to simply going to the doctor and what we can do about it. 

In her experience working in healthcare, María explains how the language barrier between the community and service providers not only intimidates the community, but also prevents the community from receiving quality services. This is due to the community’s lack of confidence in explaining their medical problems to providers, and the providers’ inability to understand their patients’ language. 

The Indigenous community faces different challenges when it comes to wanting to access medical services. María emphasizes that the most important factor for her community can be prevention. Preventing diseases such as diabetes, which is very common in our community, can be as simple as having a better diet and exercising frequently. 

For Maria, her community is another member of her family. This is how Maria works with a lot of love to serve the members of her community. Since she was little, María grew up watching her parents work in the agricultural fields. Therefore, she is very familiar with the members of this community and that is why she decided to work offering her services to the agricultural community. 

Additionally, Maria mentions being used to seeing people having to work while they are sick or in pain. But anyway, María urges her community to take better care of their health. María’s biggest goal is for her community to prioritize their health and to go to the doctor or hospital when they need help.

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