One of the most important reasons we have been successful in Santa Maria is our respect for the Maya people and their culture. Rather than telling the people what to do, we spent two years working closely with the medical, educational, and political leaders in Santa Maria to learn more about their needs. Through this partnership we have learned to respect the health care aspects of the Maya culture and incorporate their ideas with our health plans.
In 2018, the estimated population of the Maya people in Guatemala was 7.2 million, almost 50% of the entire population of the country. There are 21 different Maya dialects spoken in Guatemala which further complicates the educational and communication systems.
The Maya people in Santa Maria dress in their typical clothes, particularly on holidays. You may see some of the men wearing jeans and flannel shirts, but the women wear their traditional, brightly colored clothing.