Thursday, May 28, 2020
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
“What DO you do?” You Are Invited…
Many times, when speaking in the U.S., we are asked that question. It isn’t a question about the focus of the CDCA’s work, or not quite understanding the important reasons for working in partnership with Nicaraguan communities. Rather, the question is asked in a puzzled tone of voice reflecting acknowledgement that an 8-5pm work week probably doesn’t fit the need, and so what really is it that we do every day?
COVID-19, the answer to that question becomes even stranger in many ways for
most of us. At our virtual Board meeting
held two weeks ago, we called upon our Board to come up with fresh fundraising ideas,
since our budget is strained beyond limits with no volunteers bringing
So following up on Board suggestions, several of us have spent many hours putting together a Live Event… a Zoom meeting being hosted by Megan Quinn, JHC Board member, volunteer in Nicaragua, and public health professor at East Tennessee State University. Live from Nicaragua: Fighting Coronavirus Together, will happen this week, Wednesday May 20, starting at 5:15pm EDT. YOU ARE INVITED to join us: https://etsu.zoom.us/j/91892396886. The meeting will include a presentation, followed by Q&A time including Nicaraguan Nueva Vida Health Clinic staff.
So picture in your head days spent on power point design… script writing… photo taking… editing and finalizing… all done either by communicating virtually with each other, or by standing at an acceptable social distance to talk over the back fence. Followed by sending out hundreds of email invitations to family, friends, hosts of all our COVID-19 canceled speaking engagements, Rotary partners, etc. Plus, posting on social media. Whew! Definitely not a routine week!
Meanwhile, of course, equipping our Nueva Vida Clinic staff with PPE meant coming up with a creative cheap solution to making masks and also face shields. And when the face shield really did work, creating a mp4 video with instructions… first in English, and then in Spanish… so you and everyone else can make them cheaply as well, perhaps out of unused materials in your office or craft supplies, as we used for our first samples. Oh… and then posting the instructions:
English language link: https://youtu.be/QLD1yWJRZyU
Spanish language link: https://youtu.be/dWp5c3MEUGc
But also… time spent ...
- thanking donors by email and figuring out how to get paper thank yous to donors who need those…
- keeping the accounts up-to-date and accurate with our own office staff now spread into four isolated locations, having each carried their office computer home …
- staying on top of the farmers’ needs via email and phone while watching the sky for May rains…
- doing only absolutely essential errands… and
- watching coronavirus updates on the news and the John Hopkins University global map, while attempting to keep staff and their families as protected as possible.
Yes, not normal weeks even by our unorthodox standards!
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Friday, May 15, 2020
- Listen to scientists. This idea that politicians, religious leaders, and anyone who can get an account on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter know more than scientists do is nuts. If we had listened to epidemiologists and global health organizations, we would have known for years that a pandemic was coming and could have prepared.
- When in crisis, listen to the experts in their fields… see above. Also, don’t deny the facts. China, the U.S., the Russian Federation… all played down the seriousness of the disease and had to then back-pedal to keep the virus from killing even more people. Denying facts do not make them any less true.
photo - Shutterstock licensed
- Keep calm and address the problem head on. Our daughter-in-law, Cassie, is a family medicine physician. She says that she is glad that Gavin Newsom is her California governor because he comes on the news regularly and calmly states the problems and the solutions they are doing in connection with COVID-19. He doesn’t speculate. He doesn’t throw out ideas off the top of his head. He listens to the experts. He is consistent in California’s approach to the virus.
- Pay and protect those on the front-lines, as it were, for their dangerous work.
- Those who are asked to give up certain “liberties” or - as I would describe them – comforts… should cooperate. Many have given them up and too many still do not. They isolate until they decide their “need” is greater than the common good.
photo: Shutterstock licensed
- As the virus has spread, we see more clearly all the disparities that have always existed. Poor people with poor health die. Homeless people are crowded in shelters or sent to parking lots to sleep. African-American people are dying more. Old people, left alone in their homes or those in nursing homes, die more. People who live paycheck-to-paycheck start to go hungry. The people with various disabilities are often triaged to not receive critical help… and…
- Poor nations are screwed… they are so, so screwed.
- Listening to scientists?
- Stop denying the facts? Climate change is real.
- Staying calm and addressing this massive problem head on?
- Giving the workers the support that they need to address climate change?
- Realizing that our comfort is not as important as the common good for all?
- Addressing the disparities now before climate change starves and kills those most vulnerable?
- And understanding that poor countries suffer the most with climate change, can we lend aid - not military weapons - and can we support these countries instead of imposing sanctions or organizing coup d’états?
photo: Shutterstock licensed
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
|COVID toes - photo shutterstock licensed|
- Bleach and washcloths to clean. We are fumigating three times a day and mopping more and more with bleach solution.
- We are spending more on appropriate cloth for masks.
- Pulse oximeters
- More on specific medications
- More on sewing gowns that tie in the back to protect the front of the staff instead of lab coats
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
|Kathleen and Peggy - May 2020|
I can make comparisons between mothers here and what Mama was to me when I was little. Mama lived in public housing from the time I was one until I was six years old. She stretched every cent as far as possible. Until I was one year old, she lived with her mother, which was not always pleasant for her. She wanted the best for her children.
|Peggy Murdock 1967 with Kathleen, Roderick, Bobby|
The differences between Mama and mothers here in Nicaragua are vast, like the Pacific. Mama had Daddy. Many mothers here do not have the support of the child’s father. Mama had family that could and did – at times – lend financial support. Mama had a college degree and off-and-on had jobs to support the family, as did Daddy, who was going to college and seminary during their time of elected poverty - which is the biggest difference of all… Mama could have opted for Daddy to not go to school.
For the mothers in Nueva Vida, our clinic supplies:
- prenatal care
- education on mothering, labor and birth, mental health and other topics
- home visits to make sure that before and after birth, the baby and mom are all doing well
- a welcome-to-the-world baby bag full of helpful items for newborns
- family planning
- support for breast-feeding through vitamins, classes, and peer groups
- and help getting birth certificates for the mom and baby when needed.
This list just names some of the help that the clinic provides for mothers, but with COVID-19, it is hard to continue support groups, although we still encourage one-on-one peer support. With COVID-19, fundraising for this program is difficult to say the very least… that is why for this Mother’s Day for my sweet mother who struggled hard for us, my gift to her will be a gift for all these mothers. We ask that you do the same for your mother all from the safety of your home… an added plus.