Juliana Huamán Quispe lives in the high Andean community of Challwaccocha (pronounced Chay-wuh-CO-cha), located almost 14,000 feet above sea level. It is an agricultural community, known for cultivating different varieties of potatoes, producing wool from sheep and alpacas, and, perhaps most famously, for raising trout in their pristine mountain lakes. In fact, in the native language of Quechua, challwa means trout and ccocha means lake. 

Juliana is a community health worker (promotora) and trainer (docente) with SVH and, prior to the pandemic, she made the 3+ hour journey to our office in Ollantaytambo multiple times a month for different trainings. She also took advantage of these trips to visit her children, who were living in Ollantaytambo in order to go to school. Now, as a result of the pandemic, her children are back in Challwaccocha. They haven’t been able to go school or keep up with their studies online because there is no internet access in Challwaccocha. “I’m so happy to have all my children back at home,” Juliana tells us, “but at the same time, I’m really worried about their education and how this is going to affect them moving forward.”

Juliana is also hopeful about the future health of her community, and she has seen an increase in preventative health practices among her neighbors since the COVID pandemic began. Thanks to the information they have received from Juliana and her fellow SVH promotoras, bolstered by health broadcasts on the radio, the residents of Challwaccocha have been diligent about using masks and washing their hands.  

Like so many of us, for Juliana the pandemic has brought both hardships and silver linings. Juliana knows COVID is highly contagious and can be deadly in some cases. Nevertheless, when asked about good things that have come out of this situation, she emphasized that many families in Challwaccocha have shown greater interest in learning about health and hygiene. Having a more receptive audience has made her job as a community health worker much more effective. “As a promotora,” Juliana tells us, “it makes me happy to be learning more about the coronavirus. I’m committed to making sure my community gets this information so that we can act together to prevent the spread of this virus.”

Act with Juliana to support her work in Challwaccocha! Between now and December 31st, all donations will be matched up to $25,000, so you can make a gift today and double your impact.