It’s still dark out but I can clearly hear Teresita’s soft voice calling me through the door. “Sadie, vamos a caminar.” She’s inviting me to join her and some of the other older ladies of Juluchuca for their daily walk to the playa. The idea of setting out for walk before sunrise is not usually part of my schedule, but this is something special.
An American woman in my 30s who is still struggling to learn Spanish, I didn’t expect to have much in common with my host Theresita, a grandmother who has rarely travels beyond her small community in Northern Mexico. But in our monthly visits when I come to Playa Viva to host our sales events, we have hit on some unexpected common ground: we’ve both recently been diagnosed with a form of type 2 diabetes. While mine is termed pre-diabetes and Teresita is struggling with a more advanced case, we’ve been prescribed the same medicine and are both interested in understanding how changes in our lifestyles might help.
Thus the pre-dawn walks. Theresa and the other ladies of the neighborhood (apparently about 1 in 3 are also dealing with some form of diabetes or pre-diabetes) have decided to get active on the advice of their doctors. An international health epidemic is felt very personally in Juluchuca where much of the population is either very young or aging. While their experience of the world may be somewhat limited, they are eager for information and willing to make changes.
So now, in the coolness of the early morning, when the men go off to work on the land, the ladies make their rounds through the neighborhood, rousing each other from chores to join the walk. We each walk at our own pace–the older ladies laughingly excusing their inability to keep up– swinging our arms we talk about life and family and breath deeply.