“Sana, sana, colita de rana…”
Being in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic made me think about a blog post I wrote a number of years ago about Latino healthcare called El Remediosphere.
In that post I wrote about my mother (raised on a rancho in the Mexican state of Sinaloa) and what was her approach to getting sick. In her youth, when you became ill, you had remedies that worked for everyone. You went to a sobadora or a curandera, yerbas (herbs) were a big part of this process. And if things were really bad, you were taken into the nearest town.
I also asked friends to provide a list of some of the remedios that they recalled from their childhoods. This yielded a number of commonalities and traditions. It was humorous.
However, there’s nothing funny about COVID-19. This virus is killing people. It’s spreading.
California estimates that 25.5 million residents (56% of the state) will get the virus in the next eight weeks. Keep in mind that Latinos comprise almost 40% of California’s population.
There are a lot of disconnects in cultural communications.
I’m not talking about language, but culture. And traditions.
With US Latinos, many of these traditions remain part of our culture. If you are a Latinx, think of how much Vicks (AKA vaporu, vivaporu, or el veex), yerba buena, or other herbs, prayers, candles and other healing aspects you picked up from your parents.
On another hand, think of the generational/cultural divide in how Millennials and Boomers see social distancing, self-quarantine, etc. I’m addressing non-Latinx here.
Now, add cultural background(s) and ethnicity into the mix. That’s where the disconnect comes in.
Culturally, we are family and community focused. Familia always comes first. We’re huggers. We’re touchers. But that’s also how this virus can spread, especially to the elderly.
Unfortunately, Latinos tend to typically be diagnosed and treated at lower rates. Some reasons for this include a lack of awareness, disease state literacy, and the lack of information. All obstacles to good health.
Through our Collective Comadre/Compadre Networks we should be self-educating and assisting others to take this virus serious. Part of familia and responsibility should be to remind others (and ourselves) to:
- Wash our hands. Often.
- Practice social distancing. But in doing this, emphasize the WHY.
- Care for each other. Ask, call, text, etc. Communicate.
- Offer assistance if you can.
- Information is available.
We’ll get through this. Be a good compadre, be a good comadre. Si se puede.