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CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD On my way out of Cuba, from La Habana, on COPA airlines flight to Panama, I w...

vendredi 11 septembre 2015

A MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGIST IN THE LAND OF TWO SPIRITS

The sun was setting as I drove into the village where the Blue House
is located. One main road and at the end of the main road is the
school and the blue house is located next to the school.
i had just driven over 50 miles to the nearest town so that I could
get some thing to eat (organic package foods and a bottle of Sauvignon
Blanc Brancott from NZ) and was eager to get home.
In the Indian reservations everything is quiet, they are busy with
their social and cultural life
Fortunately there is weak WIFI and and a so so signal from ATT, which 
is something new.

The sunsets here have such a tender quality to them, it is as if something divine was hugging the rolling hills and the green meadows which would soon be under snow. the earth is awake, as the Indians would say 


One of the patients
I saw today at the clinic is pictured below


In the Indian ways of thinking, every body is equal so they make no
distinction between doctors nurses pharmacists psychologists all they
want to know is whether or not this person cares for them.
I have lots and lots of help, all my patients (8 or 9 of them per day)
have access to a psychologist, a nutritionist who have offices near
mine. But days are filled with sorrow because of the extreme poverty
they face, lack of hope in their lives, teenage pregnancies and drug
abuse .. all problems faced by a segment of the population in this
country. I am proud to be involved in their health care.
So I was happy to see  this patient. I had been wondering what had happened to
him and a Public Health Nurse arranged for him to come to the clinic
and we had a nice encounter.and he promised to take his medication and
report to me when i am back here again in one month
I told him of the advances in trans gender and its treatment in Cuba
and he was very happy. I told him about transvestite clubs in La
Habana I visited with a good friend of mine who later turned out to be
gay ( i was either too stupid or innocent to realize).
My patient was very proud of who he was, no longer shy to be the
person he wants to be. He has absolutely no complexes about the way he
dresses.
Many of the drugstores send us cosmetics and other things to give as
presents to our patients, so it is not unusual for me to give toilet
paper, shampoo or canned food to my patients when they leave. I was
happy to give him some nail polish, a face cleanser and some brushes
to apply make up....


I always take a bag of these with me (thank you Walgrens or Walmart or
whoever send us these things, may IRS bless you ), when I return to
Cuba and lately to Colombian Amazon. In that way I feel a little bit
like Melquiades in Gabo's novel Cien Anos de Solidad
On Monday I am going to a new clinic, and as part of my agreement to
go there I told them that I would like cooked meals at lunch. The
nurse texted me today and asked me: what sort of tea would I like to
drink? Just good tea with no flavours , with milk and sugar
please..just like my sisters tea in Miami!
This is the magical world I live in. where I am able to enter the
lives of so many Indians
Each day they teach me something new.
and I know they bless my  mezhinga, in their language,
as far as they are concerned this french speaking mezhinga is one of
them.


from WikiPedia
Two-Spirit (also two spirit or twospirit) is a modern umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe gender-variant individuals in their communities, specifically people within indigenous communities who are seen as having both male and female spirits within them. It is a spiritual role that is recognized and confirmed by the Two-Spirit's indigenous community.
Third and fourth gender roles traditionally embodied by two-spirit people include performing work and wearing clothingassociated with both men and women. Not all tribes have rigid gender roles, but, among those that do, some consider there to be at least four genders: masculine man, feminine man, masculine woman, feminine woman.
Historically, non-Native (i.e. non-Native Americananthropologists have used the term berdache /bərˈdæʃɨz/ to identify an Indigenous individual fulfilling one of many mixed gender roles in their tribe, but that term has now fallen out of favor. The presence of male-bodied two-spirits "was a fundamental institution among most tribal peoples" and, according to Will Roscoe, both male- and female-bodied two-spirits have been documented "in over 130 North American tribes, in every region of the continent."