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The May 2013 newsletter of the CDCA in Nicaragua is now online, and readable below... let us know what you think, please. 
You can also access it as a PDF (printable) here:      
Thanks, Sarah for us all

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May 2013

As I write this newsletter, Mike, Becca, and the staff of COPROEXNIC, the Lloyd
                                                  from OANB inspecting
                                                  peanut plant 2organic agricultural cooperative, are meeting with members of Once Again Nut Butter (OANB) and representatives from one of the four large peanut production businesses in Argentina.  Much of this is to help us figure out how to best go forward with our organic peanut program.
    Mike went to Boston to meet with representatives from OANB, Maggie’s Organics, and others, to address issues surrounding the certification process for fair trade, and how to get representation for small farmers around the world onto the Boards of Directors of fair trade certifying organizations.  Along with all   these folks, we also had a visit from a past volunteer, Lisa Spicka, who is exploring consistent and just standards of fair trade with OANB.

    The sesame was a good crop this past season but as with peanuts, the processing plant and the shipping companies are not doing their job of getting the seeds north to the buyers in a timely fashion.  We hired someone to watch the processing of the sesame and peanuts and we have great concerns with the plant… we need to have a reliable plant here in Nicaragua that allows access to our farmers.

    El Porvenir, the coffee cooperative, has its own old but reliable processing facility for coffee.  Idalia in COPROEXNIC
                                              office 2As a result they are careful with the processing  which gives their coffee more value.  This year they had a good crop of 38,000 pounds of coffee to sell…  up by 10,000 pounds from last year.

    COPROEXNIC hired an administrator, Idalia.  She is from Ciudad Sandino.  She first volunteered with them and is now an enormous addition to the staff.
Our health clinic has been full to overflowing with patients.  Bucknell doctor
                                              seeing patients - photo by
                                              Serena FujitaIn our first quarter alone, we have seen almost half as many patients as we saw all last year.  As a result our medicine purchases have doubled.  We also now receive fewer donated medications from the U.S. because of increased governmental restrictions as the current government tries to protect its populace from expired or useless medicines.  Current donations are not covering the increases in care we give. 
In our dental clinic we have seen an enormous increase in children from the feeding centers.  As I write, we are fortunate to have the volunteer services of a dentist, assistant, and hygienist from Michigan.  We would like to have volunteer dentists and hygienists once a month.
    We are thrilled to have the volunteer services 3 days a week of Fabiola from Nueva Vida who is studying to be a dental assistant.  We need a full-time dentist and also someone who will clean the dental building.  With the increase in services, one person alone cannot keep both clinic buildings clean … but we don’t yet have the money. 

Last year we held a total of 16 health promotional classes; in the first quarter of 2013 we have already held 24 with 370 people attending.
Class on female
                                              anatomy and what to expect
                                              with gyn exams 2       We have broadened our services to include classes on pregnancy, labor and birth… desperately needed because doctors here do not have time to answer questions and patients are too intimidated to ask in the first place.  As a result, women often depend on handed-down stories from mothers, and some tales are harmful.  Often, first time mothers go into labor without a clue as to what is actually happening.  Giving them a space to ask questions is very helpful and giving them information about what is going on with their bodies is crucial to a healthier pregnancy and a less stressful labor.
    Our expansion into prevention and early detectionOur health promoter
                                              loading women to go for
                                              follow-up exams 3 for women’s cancer is growing steadily… though we wish we had more resources to better fund and more widely spread this education.  A way to help… One Mother Saving Another… this Mother's Day give a gift in honor of your mother to the Nueva Vida Clinic’s new Women’s Cancer Program to help other mothers (for more information see .
    In the health clinic we have started a family planning program to provide free family planning* so that women can decide when they choose to be mothers. We have been providing family planning for many of the women at El Porvenir and are now reaching more women in Nueva Vida.  We also have a support group for diabetics.  Our nurse and health promoter make home visits.  AND…
    Our volunteer orthopedist is doing great things. Useless arm before
                                              surgery 3 Last year we received a grant from a Patient with usable
                                              arm post-surgery 3family foundation for orthopedics and the lame can walk now!  With the grant nine people received injections of hyaluronic acid in the knees.   Dr. Perez recently did surgery on one man’s arm that was broken but the bones had not knitted together.  He now has use of his arm!  We have almost used up that grant and would really like to have another $6,000 for orthopedics to continue the healing instead of just controlling the pain.
Do you see a pattern here?  Please know that if you donate we will stretch your donations as far as possible.  (You can donate online.)

*This does not include abortion which is illegal in Nicaragua.

Lopez volunteers
                                              repairing clinic water
                                              tower 2We have hosted five delegations since our last newsletter:  the high school Spanish class from Lopez Island, WA; Boston College nurses in our health clinic; Whitworth University from Spokane, WA; Winthrop University from Rock Hill, SC; and Bucknell University from Lewisburg, PA. 
    Lopez students went to El Porvenir for two nights.  They worked on the community’s health center building while Becca and Pat examined and gave eye glasses to 55 people (out of the 253 people living at El Porvenir).  The students also touched up paint on clinic benches and painted the clinic’s water tank stand until they discovered it was rusting through and needed to be replaced; it’s now fixed.
    Boston College nursing program sends nursing students annually to work Painting
                                              clinic cabinets - photo by
                                              Serena Fujita 3in our clinic.  They went into homes of patients, helped in the clinic, and taught classes on CP R, infections, and burns to the health promoters.
    Whitworth University was with us for only a few days.  This was their first visit. They dug on a trench to move water away from the cotton in the gin.
    Meanwhile, Winthrop University brought two dentists who saw patients at El Porvenir and children from the feeding centers.  The students did a program on nutrition for our new mothers and health promoter.
Bucknell building
                                              crew - photo by Serena
                                              Fujita 7    The Bucknell Brigade brought a doctor who also went to El Porvenir as well as treated patients in our clinic.  The students painted in the clinic, helped with a sidewalk between the storage building and the gin, and dug on the water trench.

The Bucknell Brigades always bring a doctor and for more than 26 delegations it has been Dr. Don Stechschulte.  He first came in 1999, with Bucknell’s initial brigade after Hurricane Mitch, when 12,000 refDr Don Stechschulte -
                                              photo by Ben Stechschulte
                                              5ugees were moved to  cow pastures near us and the barrio of Nueva Vida was formed.
    Don served an integral role in getting our clinic started, and we hope he will continue even though he has retired from Bucknell.  He has fundraised, brought donated medicines, and seen patients in our clinic and at El Porvenir (they call him their primary care physician).  He has advised us, and has been and still is a dear, dear friend.

The Bucknell Brigades fundraise for the clinic.  This year they have been nominated for being a True Hero, an award to educational institutions for their service.  The winner receives $3,000 that the Brigades will send to our clinic.  Go to and vote for Bucknell.
JHC logoJubilee House Community:  Sarah is in the States speaking… she is spreading the word of our work to new groups through the South on the way to Texas.  She is also visiting with her children, grandchildren and extended family.
    Coury is working with the CDCA as he gets ready to transfer from the medical school at UAM in Managua to their dental program that  Daniel attends.  We have been glad to have his help.
    We want to dedicate this newsletter to the mMarta
                                              Arriaza in concert - photo
                                              by Carl Agsten Jr 3emory of Martha Arriaza, who died the 7th of February of cervical cancer, an easily preventable and treatable cancer when caught early.  Martha was a wonderful composer, singer, a joyous woman, and a fighter.  Many of our brigades were fortunate to hear her sing.  She was 39 years old and left her daughter, Abril, age 11.  The world is a better place because of Martha and a sadder place now that she has left us.
    Mike and I went to the States.  We spent time in New York City and Boston and the greater area.  People were rushing to and fro.
Volunteer - kids
                                              with frisbee - photo
                                              Daniel Winer 5    Driving home from taking Joseph to school this morning, I realized that people the world over are rushing and not seeing the ones who are next to them or in front of them… and suddenly in a traffic jam in Managua with horns blaring away, two memories flashed through my brain.
    The first… In 1999, North Anderson Community Church from SC brought a delegation down with three doctors.  We were in our small temporary clinic and we were swamped with 100 plus people wanting to see the doctors.  We had a tiny room for our pharmacy and we had four volunteers packed in there with me.  I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least.
    Sitting at the end of the counter was Betty Jane, slowly counVolunteer - kids on
                                              back of bus - photo Mali
                                              Fisher 3ting out vitamins to have ready to distribute… and I mean, slowly counting… one by one.  In my - I hoped well concealed - impatience, I mentioned that she could count them by twos or fives… she looked up at me, smiled and said, “I know, but I am sending a blessing with each pill,” and returned to counting and blessing.   In that moment, I realized that our clinic should be more than getting people in, seen, and treated… we should be blessing them as well.
    The second was talking to a psychologist who is also a Buddhist.  I was talking about feeling constantly pulled at, and that when I don’t respond to the pulling I experience the never-ending feeling of guilt. She said quite simply, “Look at the person and breathe in the needs, the pains, and the heartache… and breathe out a blessing.”
Volunteer - kids
                                              jumping - photo Sara
                                              Hunter 4    Giving out blessings is something that we all can do… quietly sharing good energy to help others cope with their difficult lives.  We can look them in the eye and acknowledge their self worth.  We can pray on behalf of them in a breath.  When we feel overwhelmed we can calmly and freely give others our desire that they find hope. 
    Blessing others changes us… others cease being just “things” in our way… but become people who share our world.  It empowers us to be a conduit for goodness.  Our lives have more meaning.  It calms us and offers us hope… the blessing returns to us… like a boomerang… or like the breeze gently in our hearts.
 - Kathleen
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Online tax-deductible contributions are for the general operating budget (designations accepted),and may be single donations or recurring.
This Mother’s Day, I would like to give to “One Mother Saving Another” ,Maria
                                                    Isidra with grandson
                                                    Cesar MD part 3 to the Nueva Vida Clinic’s new Women’s Cancer Program in honor of my mother, to help other mothers .  I am giving online.       

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