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A Modern-Day Renaissance Woman in the Heart of Quiché


We are so proud of Eva Carrillo! She has helped the GHF team since its early days in Guatemala. She exemplifies the role of health promoter – those local health advocates responsible for promoting, or advancing, health and wellbeing in their native Quiché. She gives fully, consistently and with all her heart. Read all about Eva's story with Global Healthworks Foundation below.

 

A Modern-Day Renaissance Woman in the Heart of Quiché

When Eva Carrillo, a young quichelense from the mountains ofSololá, leaves the room for more than thirty minutes, things begin to grow a bit more hectic. “¿Dónde está Eva? (Where is Eva?)” a registration assistant asks, wondering where to retrieve more intake papers. “I have an EFT patient for Eva,” an acupuncturist says, gesturing to a middle-aged woman. “No sé (I don’t know),” an interpreter responds, when asked when the next group of patients is arriving. “Preguntale a Eva. (Go ask Eva.)”

On the third day of the October 2014 jornada (medical mission), while Eva attends her Reiki Master graduation —to add yet another skill to her extensive list of capabilities — people begin to notice her absence. As Coordinator of Global Healthworks Foundation’s health promoters and mobile clinics, Eva schedules and handles logistics for three weekly, five-hour clinics; assists in the planning of the Foundation’s biannual jornadas; and acts as the organization’s primary community liaison. “Eva is an essential part of our operation,” Peter Caron, Program Manager says. “She is the Quiché face of our organization. She fills all the roles.”

In addition to her coordinator responsibilities, Eva also performs Reiki and massage, leads yoga and movement classes, offers EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)—a form of counseling and intervention, which aids a patient in releasing feelings of trauma related to past events—acts as a Spanish-Quiché interpreter, and inserts and removes ear needles as part of anti-stress treatments. Yet, despite the number of tasks she performs on a daily basis, she maintains a calming, encouraging presence with staff, patients, and health promoters—Quiché residents who promote, or advance, integrative health practices in their communities. “She’s advising men [and women] twice her age,” Peter says. “That’s a big deal here. She doesn’t do it from a place of ego, but from a place of wanting to help people.”

 Though many are at least twenty five years older, the majority of health promoters view Eva as a role model and someone to be respected.

Though many are at least twenty five years older, the majority of health promoters view Eva as a role model and someone to be respected.

 

Though many are at least twenty five years older, the majority of health promoters view Eva as a role model and someone to be respected. “Es como nuestra guía (She is like our guide),” María, a promoter from Santa Cruz, says. “Nos da capacitación regularmente para recordar lo que hemos aprendido (She gives us training regularly in order to remember what we have learned).” Eva’s tranquilidad (calmness) and accesibilidad (accessibility), her fellow promoters say, are two of her most enviable characteristics. “Siempre está muy acesible y dispuesta (She is always very accessible and available),” says Liset, another Santa Cruz promoter. “No es exigente. Nunca impone fuerza. Y lo hace bien. (She isn’t strict. She is never forceful. And she does [her job] well.)”

For Eva, coordinating the promoters is the easy part. The primary source of her concern relates to clinic food. “¡Es el mayor problema! (It’s the biggest problem!)” she says, in her characteristically expressive voice. “Para satisfacer a todos y proveer una alimentación adecuada—¡es difiícil! (To satisfy everyone and provide adequate nutrition—it’s difficult!)” Yet, despite any issues with food preparation, Eva always ensures the mobile clinic team has a full, nourishing meal, says Lucas Guex, clinic interpreter and driver. “Ella siempre trata de tener algo bueno y saludable para nosotros (She always tries to have something good and healthy for us).”

 “I am always impressed by her ability to love, care, and have compassion, and also keep whoever she is as a person.”

“I am always impressed by her ability to love, care, and have compassion, and also keep whoever she is as a person.”

Though the confidence and ability with which she multitasks and communicates are characteristic of someone much older, Eva is just twenty seven years old and has only been working as the Foundation’s local Clinic Coordinator for a year. Her growth as a person and professional is evident in the quality of her work and interactions with others, says Sister Virginia (Ginny) Searing, Executive Director of the Foundation’s primary partner, the Centro de Paz Bárbara Ford. “When I first met Eva, I recognized something special in her right away,” says Sister Ginny, who has known Eva for almost ten years. “She has grown to be the most wonderful woman. She has a total, total commitment to her work and the people she helps. That never deviates.”

Those people are the reason Eva enjoys her work so much. “Me identifico con las personas (I identify with the people),” she says. “Hemos tenido tantas experiencias juntos. Estoy feliz con todo lo que estoy haciendo con ellos. Me siento llena de vida. (We have had so many experiences together. I am happy with everything I am doing with them. I feel full of life.)” Just as importantly, Sister Ginny says, she makes others feel full, too. “I am always impressed by her ability to love, care, and have compassion, and also keep whoever she is as a person.” As Peter explains, “She really cares. It’s not like there’s a training for caring for someone in this way. It’s just experience. You stay with it because you believe in it. And Eva really believes in it. It really comes from the heart.”

Regardless of the skills she has amassed already, Eva says, she wants to continue learning more about integrative health practices. In addition to Peter, one of her primary role models is the Founder and Executive Director of Global Healthworks Foundation, Dan Wunderlich. “Dan es un gran ejemplo porque comparte su experiencia conmigo (Dan is a great example because he shares his experience with me),” she says. “Me ha enseñado: Cuando doy más es cuando recibo más. (He taught me when I give more is when I receive more.)”

One thing’s for sure: Eva must be receiving plenty already because “she gives fully, consistently, and with all her heart,” Dan says. “I am so proud of her.”