Below is a recap of our direct experiences and interactions with over 250 women in the Puerto Penasco community during our three-week trip. This should not be taken as a generalization for all Mexican women or Mexican society as a whole.
During one of our medical trips in association with Naturopaths Without Borders, we met many wholehearted and intelligent women. During the medical visits, we were surprised by the number of obstacles these women faced daily and yet, were unfazed by these challenges. Inspired by their strength and perseverance, we wanted to learn more about them and use their wisdom to inspire other women around the world.
During our three weeks in Puerto Penasco we interacted with over 250 women through wellness workshops, women discussion groups, interviews, presentations, and individual nutrition consults. It was during these interactions the women shared their experiences about what it means to be a woman in Puerto Penasco and how that has shaped them.
To capture the depth and complexities of their lives we met with a broad range of women aging from 15-80 years at a variety of environments (work, school, home, spiritual centers, etc.) to better understand who they are and how they relate to their society, community, and family.
In Puerto Penasco, it is common that many women are victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape. Despite how tragically common these cases are, there is little support and work being done to stop this behavior. Consistent trauma has become a normality in their society and has encouraged the suppression of women.
In conducted interviews, drug trafficking and related violence was a consistent theme having a devastating impact on families and the community. Enticed by the profitability of drug trafficking, many saw it as an opportunity to financially support their families despite the apparent dangers. Over time, this has led many children to be raised by extended family members and a greater need for community resources on an already burdened system.
A lack of resources and access to food, healthcare, and transportation was a common source of stress and anxiety for many women. The difficulty was expressed in transporting kids to school, receiving proper medical treatment and having enough food on the table.
Women lean on spirituality and religion for healing, guidance and multigenerational support. Faith welcomed new perspectives for many to view their traumas in a new light and allowed them freedom from their pain. Generosity is second nature for many of these women and it weaves the community together.
Currently, we are post-production of the Project Mujeres film and we hope to release it in Summer 2020.
We are also exploring our next project location. People from countries such as India, Nepal, and Panama are reaching out to us for future involvement with them.
Want us to come to your community? Write to us and tell us why the Mariposa Sisters should come to your community.
Together we can create a stronger international sisterhood.
Dr. Sean X. Hesler received his medical training from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. He received the 2018 American Association of Naturopathic Physicians President's Award and the 2011 SCNM Alumni Award for Community Service for his commitment to global and community health throughout his career. Alongside his wife Dr. Sarah Preston Hesler he co-founded the MamaBaby Haiti birth center in 2010 and he currently serves as Executive Director of Naturopaths Without Borders (NWB), a not-for-profit organization operating in Haiti, Mexico, Thailand and Phoenix. In addition to sharing lessons on global health at universities and conferences around the United States, Dr. Sean also teaches medical students and professionals in seminars and at NWB's sites in Haiti, Mexico, Thailand and Phoenix in addition to his Adjunct Faculty position at A.T. Still University. Dr. Sean uses the tools of root-cause Naturopathic medicine to stimulate profound healing and life shifts in his patients, and he specializes in cognitive enhancement, genomic medicine, biohacking, mental-emotional conditions, and pain relief through physical and mental-emotional therapies.
Mayur is amongst the most passionate people who not only raise their voice against women suppression and their equal rights but also ensures of addressing as well as implementing the strong social changes his initiative requires. A soft-spoken Mayur has been an ardent believer of how suppression of women could hinder the mighty progression of the development our world requires today. He is a Silicon Valley-based serial investor whose portfolio ranges from technology startup companies, hospitality industry and many socio-communal rural upliftment programs with a focus of helping people from the remotest places in the world. His flagship project in Rajasthan, India is an inspiration where his team has been diligently working in providing quality educations to children, creating jobs and initiating health camps for people of these underprivileged community.
Actively involved with theatre since the age of 13, Anuj has directed and acted in several National and International theatre productions. His first directed play 'Kamra Khula' was a part of Old World Theatre Festival, Atelier Festival, and 2nd India-Pak Inter-Varsity Drama Festival putting him amongst the best theater director's in the world. After finishing a part of Channel V India's first fiction show 'Roomies' Anuj directed and produced one of his most critically acclaimed theatre production, 'Holi', which got selected for Thespo at Prithvi Theatre, which is one of the most prestigious theatres to perform at, in the world. Apart from this Anuj, has also worked as an Assistant Director on a commercial Bollywood film "Hindi Medium" and recently directed his another independent short film "Doorbeen" which is doing its festival round as we speak it has been selected for the best short film category in a couple of festivals worldwide.
Raised in India, Ashish started his career in Mumbai developing unique techniques to craft exclusive Diamonds. He soon made a career change to pursue his long-standing dreams in creating imagery & telling stories. The first narrative feature he shot, UNDER THE SAME SUN, had a world premiere at the 2015 Mill Valley Film Festival in San Francisco and won the silver Audience Choice Award. He moved to LA for MFA cinematography at the American Film Institute (AFI). He is currently a practicing cinematographer in LA. He was also recently picked for the prestigious BAFTA Talents program.
Traveling, observing & being curious; he is in a constant forage to lens stories that entertain & inspire.
Born in the city of Nogales, Sonora Mexico, she is originally from Santa Ana Sonora, and to this day resides in the city of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora.
Merari has studied teaching and specializes in social sciences. She is passionate about offering resources to communities focusing on Mexican women. She has closely worked with Naturopaths Without Borders to provide free medical services to those unable to afford it. She is currently working on offering marriage and youth counseling. Merari is dedicated to providing care to those who need it most in her community.
Zina is a third-year Naturopathic Medical student. Originally from New York where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Premedical Studies and Master's degree in Bioethics and Medical Humanities at SUNY Stony Brook. She has worked with Naturopaths Without Borders several times visiting Puerto Peñasco to help bring natural medicine to those in need. The daughter of two Ecuadorian immigrants she was exposed to herbal remedies and natural healing as a child and is passionate about helping the Latino community. She currently works as a translator at several of the Bastyr University California offsite clinics and hopes to work in Community Medicine upon graduation.