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While many of you have been shopping for school supplies, Nicaraguan schools are finishing up their school year. During the year, our dental staff has been in the schools - including the rural schools - teaching about brushing teeth and giving fluoride treatments. We received a grant to do 1,200 fluoride treatments from Christ Church ECW (Charlotte, NC) and so far, have done 1,788!
Reaching children with dental care is a goal of the Dental Clinic and its dental partner, ORPHANetwork. The clinic now has a laptop in order to keep records on which children do and don’t come for their appointments, in the hope that the pastors of the 10 feeding centers will target which parents need to bring their children to the clinic. Good oral hygiene helps prevent heart disease and diabetes. It also helps with self-esteem. It is sad to see someone hide their smile.
The Health Clinic received a grant from Irish Quaker Faith in Action (Dublin) to help incentivize and acknowledge the work of our 40 lay health promoters by giving a small monetary token. Besides encouraging them to be more involved in the community, we know everyone likes to be thanked.
With the recent exploratory group of Rotarians (East Chapel Hill, NC), 31 of our health promoters attended a meeting. The Rotarians are planning a dental and health brigade in 2017 and want to keep the focus going on dental care after they leave. This they will do through the health promoters.
Many of these health promoters have first aid kits and nebulizers in their homes. A few have glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, and baby scales to use in home visits. With this IQFA grant, in June and July alone, the health promoters tended to 592 children and 660 adults. To help you understand the increase in their outreach…last year… all year…they saw a total of 914 children and 688 adults.
Our public health outreach slowed some when Martha, our nurse, was out for knee surgery. Jessenia, our professional health promoter, was left with the huge task of organizing classes and support groups, as well as doing all the home visits. The more home visits we do, the more we realize just how important these visits are and that Jessenia and Martha cannot address the need alone.
While Martha was gone we temporarily hired another nurse, Isamar, who did her student practicum with us last year. She has been wonderful. We are looking for funds to keep her on staff because besides other nursing tasks she has learned to do PAPs and EKGs. With her in the clinic, the day-to-day operations run so much better.
Footings have been poured and even some walls have gone up on the third clinic building!
Since our last news-letter, we’ve had the help of several delegations
and one class.
Methodist Churches in southern Pennsylvania came with their pastor, Steve, a Bucknell Brigade alumnus from the first Bucknell delegation in 1999. Besides helping with the building, they brought art supplies for the children whose mothers attend support groups.
Physician’s Assistant students from Massachusetts’s General Hospital came to learn, do home visits, and lead some trainings for our new mothers’ group. They, too, were led by a Bucknell Brigade alumna, Jen.
Bucknell class, Nicaragua: Grassroots Development
, was here for three weeks. Besides construction they helped reorganizing the patient files inside the clinic… a very boring but needed task. One student, Paden, came with the equipment and know-how to teach us to shape eyeglass lenses1
. They also had two doctors accompanying them who saw patients in the community and in the clinic.
» Colorado State University sent a small delegation that overlapped and worked on the building with the Bucknell class.
» St. John’s Methodist Church (Rock Hill, SC) sent a group of two dentists, Dirk and Heather, two lay hygienists, and others who worked outside on the third building while the dental folks worked inside.
» East Tennessee State University sent a group of public health graduate students, who worked doing a survey (see below). Two of their group were pharmacy students who made a document for us to use on aspects of medications that patients need to know; like “don’t take with food”, “take with food” etc.
» Lake Oswego United Church of Christ (Oregon) sent a delegation to learn and help with construction.
Rogelio, our construction guru, was mightily impressed at the hard work of these volunteers… mostly in high temperatures and high humidity. BUT we still have a long, long way to go to finish even the training section of the building, which we need desperately. What we are lacking most is the funds… around $55,000.
1It was a tasking job dealing with electricity, parts, etc. in a poor country
The East Tennessee public health students accompanied our health promoters in surveying the community about mosquito-borne diseases. 81.9% of the homes were surveyed which included 5,778 people who reported that a third of them had had one of the diseases (malaria, dengue, chikungunya [1589 cases], and 12 cases of Zika2). Less than a quarter of them went to see a doctor, while only 2.7% went to the hospital. There were 2 deaths. Self-diagnosing is common. For example: after having malaria once, when Mike got it again he did not need a lab test to confirm it. He just knew.
We are using this survey as a basis to apply for grant money for Zika tests, education, monitoring pregnant women with Zika and hopefully expanding our family planning program until more is known about the virus and to do more education.
We also used the survey as an opportunity to not only gather information from each household but also to pass out information on the diseases (symptoms and when to go to the doctor or hospital) and how to cut down on the mosquito population.
2When a person has a fever and a rash, but not red eyes, the public health system is diagnosing them with a virus and not testing them for Zika… probably because they don’t have enough tests. There have been over 400 confirmed cases in Ciudad Sandino, but we feel that the numbers are considerably more than that.
Other exciting news in the clinic is:
We received 20 laptops through East Chapel Hill Rotary and Davidson College Presbyterian Church to begin the process of connecting the clinic staff to each other, in order to reduce mistakes from poor handwriting and to reduce paper and costs.
We also now have a clean room in use for minor surgical procedures done by Gulnara, our ob/gyn, and Luis, our orthopedist. This room allows us to provide better and more extensive care to our patients.
In the world of agriculture, so far the rains have been good, which is great after two years of drought. It looks like… knock on wood… the harvest this year will be at normal levels.
COPROEXNIC, the organic agriculture cooperative, is having good success with Global Partnerships developing a stable line of credit. We are working with them to expand that line of credit continuing with Global Partnerships and also through other sources.
El Porvenir shipped a load of coffee to Their-Bucks Coffee. COPROEXNIC shipped 7 ½ loads of peanuts to Once Again Nut Butter instead of the 12 loads they thought they would have. A friend and past volunteer helped farmers measure their peanut fields to predict this year’s peanut yield.
COPROEXNIC offered to buy the sesame plant from the government but were turned down. They and we are hoping there won’t be problems renewing the lease in January.
The Board of the Directors of the Jubilee House Community met on the 12th of August.
After receiving the staff report it was noted that if everyone on our mailing list gave $25.00 each time they received a newsletter… or once a quarter… the CDCA would receive almost $1.4 million each year! Just $25.00! Wow! As one board member pointed out to us, that is less than a minimum monthly fee for Netflix.
The following is to help you, who do not live in Nicaragua, better understand what you may be hearing about the Nicaraguan elections. Like the United States, Nicaragua is also having national elections in November and there are rumblings abroad regarding:
Here in Nicaragua, while the current government is not perfect3, most people have to agree that:
Pres. Daniel Ortega is once again running for president.
Rosario Murillo, spouse of Daniel Ortega, is his vice presidential running mate.
Elections are not as transparent as people want them to be.
And as a result, no matter what the intellectuals say about “how democracy has gone awry” or “the Ortegas are getting wealthy” or “there is no transparency,” the fact is that: this government is widely popular with its base (the poor who make up the majority); the middle class can’t complain too much since life is getting better for them as well; and businesses are not fighting them because the infrastructure of the country has improved immensely. Add to that, capitalism is flourishing.
One prominent question in the international news is how can the First Lady be vice president? It seems unconventional.
Speaking of unconventional, in the States we have a potential First Lady who is an immigrant. She is the wife of a candidate who is against immigrants (or least those of a darker color). Go figure that one!
AND we have a former First Lady now running for president. Rosario, like Hillary, broke the mold for First Ladies. She, like Hillary, has taken an active role in running the country. Hillary lobbied - and lobbied hard - for children’s rights and health care. It seems that while Daniel has been running foreign affairs, Rosario has been in charge of domestic policies.
Re transparency: Watching elections around the world, there are transparency issues everywhere, including in the U.S., which is not to excuse it, but speaks rather to taking the log out of our own eye first. With gerrymandering and voter rights being limited more and more in the South of the United States, we in the U.S. have a big log in our own eye.
The poor are doing so much better.
The infrastructure is way better.
Business is growing (Nicaragua has had a growth in its GDP for the past 5 years.
The middle class is growing.
People did not and are not starving even after 2 years of drought.
3(nor is any government, see the Panama papers)
JHCommunity Comings and Goings:
In June, Pat and Kathy went to the States to reconnect with family and friends and to scatter their mother’s ashes in one of her favorite places. It was a healing trip for them.
Sarah returned from her successful speaking trip that covered the Carolinas and Tennessee northward on the east coast. She spoke at 74 places and received $46,000 for the work of the CDCA. She also visited with family especially her daughter, Jessica, and grandchildren, Elliot and Charlotte.
The Community enjoyed having Joseph home from college. He helped Daniel in his lunch catering business for friends while Daniel continues to wait for his residency.
Kathleen just returned from spending time with her mother. She and Peggy went to Kentucky, a milestone for Peggy who had 3 strokes last November that crippled her. There they saw Maggie Fisher, a Sister of Charity, who used to live in Nicaragua. Maggie will turn 92 this November.
After celebrating Paul’s 40th birthday with the Community, Becca, Paul, Eibhlín, and Orla left for Ireland to visit Paul’s side of the family. They had a few days in Madrid as well.
Mama and I watched a great deal of both U.S. political conventions and the two most important things I heard did not come from one of the best speeches. They came from President Obama. The first came when the Democrats were booing. “Don’t boo. Vote,” he said.
People in the U.S. love to complain. I understand - I love to complain, too. The majority of those who should be eligible to vote don’t.
Let me explain: In the U.S. one has to register to vote. Of those eligible to vote, 35% are NOT even registered (73 million of us!). In the 2014 election, of those who were registered, only 36.4% voted. That is disgraceful4.
As mentioned previously, in the U.S. laws are once again being passed to limit voting. I have a family member convicted of intent to sell 3 paperclips worth of marijuana. Though never jailed he cannot vote. In Nicaragua if you are at least 16 years old and have a cédula (this is like your social security number) you can vote… no limitations.
The second thing Pres. Obama said that struck me was again in response to the crowd; they were chanting, “Yes, we can; Yes, we can,” his slogan in the 2008 election. His response was, “Yes, WE can. Not yes, he can, or yes, she can, but Yes, WE can.”
In other words, it takes a movement to get the government to do the right thing.
Whether you agree with the Sandinistas or not, they have a strong grass-roots movement. In 1990, when they were voted out of office to end the contra war, they did not go into a corner and lick their wounds, they kept the local groups alive.
Bernie Sanders started a movement that shifted the Democratic platform to include issues to address the plight of the poor and the middle class. But as he said, and as Pres. Obama implied, nothing will happen without the people demanding and working together long past election time.
When Eugene McCarthy was running against Richard M. Nixon in 1968, the Vietnam war was waging and the peace movement was getting stronger and stronger. There was a great debate within the peace movement on whether or not to throw all their support and work to elect McCarthy or continue to work outside the political system.
Some believed that if the peace movement was too weak, even McCarthy would escalate the war… but if the peace movement was strong enough, even Nixon would end the war. They put most of their energies into electing McCarthy… the war went on until 1975. They chose wrongly. Real change comes from the bottom pushing the top to move and act.
If you care about the poor, militarization, wars, drones, climate change, jobs, the rich getting ever richer, etc., then vote, but don’t stop there… move, act, or as my grand-mother used to say, “Time to get off your laurels, Kathleen.”
4In the last national Nicaraguan elections, 62% of all citizens, 16 years and older, not living abroad, voted.
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Yes! I want to help support the work of the Center for Development in Central America.
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Jubilee House Community – CDCA
c/o Donita Miller
420 Longhorn Dr., Rock Hill, SC 29732-8886
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