The Program for the Care and Education of Diabetics (ProCED) is a community development program designed to 1) prevent diabetes and raise awareness in the community, 2) identify people who are at-risk or who have diabetes but don’t know it, and 3) holistically support diabetic patients and their families with the information and resources they need to manage the disease and prevent complications.
I'd like to give you all an update on our exercise group. We started this group in July 2015 and you can refer back to my first article about it. Things have been going really well lately. There is a group of about 6-8 women and they recently asked if we could meet more than just once a week. So now we are meeting on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.
March in Arequipa means the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. For CUDA, that means the beginning of a new year of work with the public schools who are part of our Living Libraries project. This year, we’re working with 4 schools, 30 teachers, and 560 kiddos and their families. Two of the schools are in their third and final year of the program, one school is in its second year, and we have one brand new school.
It is with great joy that we are writing to report our findings and impressions following our family's visit to Arequipa in July. We spent two weeks with the church, and we took the opportunity to observe various aspects of CUDA's work and to discuss matters at length with Alfredo and some of our missionary volunteers.
We believe that God is healing and transforming creation, so part of our mission as a team is to proclaim and participate in God’s reign as it breaks into the city of Arequipa. We work for God’s reign, to produce signs of justice, wellbeing, and joy of God’s saving rule. What does that look like? Through CUDA, we catch glimpses. We plant seeds. We walk the long, slow path of development that leads to transformation. We do it because Jesus was raised from the dead and the world is now a different place.
The year is off to a great start! The new Living Library at an elementary school in the district of Miraflores has been inaugurated and is under way, and we continue working with three other schools. This year we’re working with 38 teachers and 694 kids and their families in four under-resourced schools across the city. Last year, our health team saw 1,000 patients, more than 100 of which were diabetics and 300+ who had a high risk of diabetes. We’re focusing this year on serving those who have joined our care and education for diabetics program—ProCED—as we continue to partner with the Hunter health center. We’re excited to share more developments throughout the year as together we plant kingdom seeds of justice, wellbeing, and joy in the city.
As a part of the Living Libraries program, the teachers are required to attend continuing education training sessions each month. Lucia and Nancy lead these, teaching reading strategies to the teachers. Past years, these training sessions have focused solely on reading strategies, but they decided that this year, since CUDA’s mission is to promote holistic wellbeing, they would try to do just that. Lucia has asked Jeremy to lead a few sessions on ethics and the PuraVida team to teach on health.
About six months ago we had the idea to start an exercise group for the patients we see in the clinic. We discuss the benefits of being physically fit with the majority of our patients and we wanted to give them a free resource to learn and participate in exercises. I wanted to create something that women of any age and fitness level could be a part of. I also wanted to build a space where relationships can be made. Katie has also been a huge part of this exercise group and has co-led with me.
Three years ago this program opened its first library in an all-boys elementary school in a neighborhood called Miraflores. CUDA, through the Living Libraries program, is striving to increase a love for reading while bettering reading comprehension in kids throughout public schools. CUDA provides the books for a library within an elementary school if the school agrees to provide a space to put a library. Also as a part of this program the teachers are required to attend training workshops throughout the year to learn strategies to be able better to teach reading to their students.
Living Libraries is growing by leaps and bounds. This year we have four different schools in four different areas of the city. This is enough to keep everyone busy…yet we keep growing!