In Guatemala, the maternal mortality index is one of the highest in the hemisphere.  Here, midwifes attend six out of ten childbirths.  Midwives are respected and leading members of their communities.  Most of them have received trainings in hygiene and early detection of possible complications, but high mortality rates persist due to malnutrition, and the lack of suitable infrastructure in isolated rural areas.

Francisca was initiated in the 1980s, when she had to tend to a birth because her community was under siege due to a confrontation between guerrilla and military forces.

Patzún, Guatemala, 2008.