Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Top 20 Countdown #19: Built 3 clinics in rural areas
After we moved to Nicaragua in 1994, we had taken all the money we had saved to just get down here and were running on empty. Our first projects were small and designed to help us get to know the area where we were working and living. One was the building of a health center in Trinidad Central.
It was funded by the organization that had invited us to Nicaragua, FUNDECI, but they were having a hard time getting the building up and going. Day after day, we all piled into our trucks and went up to the community that lies in the hills behind us on a terrible dirt road... and we all worked, including our little boys.
It was satisfying to see the clinic going up. We took medical people like our wonderful friends, Nora, Pam, and Becky, to work in construction as well as seeing patients while they were there… handing out medicines from their suitcases. Kathy was our main translator then.
As we were able to raise money, we built two more clinics and renovated another… all in communities in the surrounding hills. We took medical volunteers up into the communities to do clinics. Pat organized health promoters in the communities and took doctors up there to train them.
Many important current aspects of our work grew from these projects. Two important ones are:
• First and foremost… we met Rogelio Caldera, our construction genius. We hired him to plan and help us build one clinic and then looked for the money to hire him full time and are so grateful we did; all these years we would have been lost without him!
• We have always worked together with people from the communities -- Nicaraguans with international volunteer labor. We built one of the clinics in partnership with another non-profit, not FUNDECI. Their focus was on giving U.S. volunteers a good experience so they would go home and work for Nicaragua. The building ended up being built shoddily. We decided then and there that though we, too, want to give volunteers good experience, we would not do it to the detriment of the Nicaraguan community. All of the clinics we built are now staffed by the Ministry of Health, which sends doctors into the communities one or two days a week. We continue to do rural medical clinics in one remote rural community about 4 hours from us; because they are so remote and their road is so bad, doctors do not come. We send medical people up 5-6 times a year and a dentist once a year.
• We are working with U.S. and Ciudad Sandino Rotary Clubs to renovate two rural health clinics that have fallen is disrepair… in process.
• We want to have a larger network of health promoters in communities surrounding Ciudad Sandino with emergency first aid kits, nebulizers, and some basic medications… awaiting funding.
• We are working with the remote rural clinic to obtain furniture and equipment for their newly built health center... awaiting funding.
20 years/20 dollars: help us keep doing more by giving $20.
Counting down to #GivingTuesday on December 2nd, we’re highlighting the CDCA’s accomplishments over our 20 years in Nicaragua. Follow our countdown in this blog, on Facebook and Twitter. Help us keep doing more by giving $20. Our goal is to raise $20,000.