Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Nov 12

Sorry - but I can't seem to upload any photos. Might just be the connection.

This is really a post of just regurgitating what we saw/heard/did today from my notes, so it might be a little "in the weeds" for the recreational reader. I’m also a little tired to be doing a whole lot of reflection. I will say that it has been nice that Yadira built in time for us to pray and have devotions – which I often don’t make time for in my daily life. Tomorrow we’re going shopping in Masaya market for tourist stuff – and buying items that we’ll sell at our auction fundraiser at church. We’re also visiting a volcano and one organization. We had a really full day today so my brain is a little fried. AND our trusted guide and interpreter, Marcos, LIED about the weather. It did rain, when he said it wouldn't. [I’m just putting that down because I threatened to blog about him.]

Today was a great and very full day. Miguel and Nan spent the day with us. We first visited the Los Caracolitos (little snails) school. The enrollment is around 85 kids, ranging in age from 7-15, with basic education classes for adults at night. Most of the kids work in the market that’s nearby, the school is free and doesn’t require uniforms. They go half days and it is an accelerated primary school in 3 years. When they finish, those that can manage, go on to 6th grade. Some of the kids are teenagers who never went to school and are playing catch up. The school director, Alicia, has been running the school in various locations for the last 13 years. I think they’ve been at their present location, thanks to Nan and Miguel’s support, for the last 5-6 years and have been slowly improving the school. We had some very basic classes and sharing with the kids. Was born from census in community about what needs were. Started providing lunches and breakfasts when at evangelical church. Teachers paid $40 mo – and . Other pre-school in area run by Catholic church and charge 40 cordobas. $200 month for food. Looking for sponsors to help kids go to secondary school. Currently have 4 teachers. 18 months to get a teaching diploma – which they would all be interested in doing, but they don’t have the resources.

We also got to hear about the organization, Mujer y Comunidad, that we had planned to visit in San Francisco Libre. Dr. Rosa Silva (MD) spoke with us about her work in the women’s clinic. They offer birth control and pap smears, among many other things, all having to do with women’s health. What I found really impressive was how much they cooperate with so many other organizations, including the Ministry of Health.

Foundry made a contribution from our Mission budget of $1850, specifically to buy birth control, as that was what was identified as the greatest need by Mujer y Comunidad. That should fund a one year supply of birth control pills for 300 women. They used to get most of their birth control donations from the UN – but about a year ago, that all dried up. Nan attributed that largely to prevailing U.S. policies against family planning and their influence in the UN. The other medical donations we brought from CrossLink International had a total value of $5210 and Foundry paid $352 for pre-natal vitamins and toothbrushes.

An attorney, Sandra Welasca Melendez, who works on domestic abuse cases for Mujer y Comunidad, also spoke with us. She told us of two specific cases, and shared about the legal system in general.

Our last stop was at Centro de Mujeres Acahual. Acahual is an indigenous word, meaning Land of Sunflowers. What a lovely name. The area where we visited was near the town dump of 55 years – which they pointed out is a curse but also provides employment for many people. The Center’s main objective is to give attention to the women in the community. They work hard not to overlap services with other NGOs – and see the main health threats as diabetes, hypertension, and cervical cancer. Nan pointed out earlier that HPV (human papilloma virus) is a serious threat – and both this clinic and Mujer y Comunidad provide or have arrangements to refer women to the public women’s hospital for procedures to prevent cervical cancer. The Center doesn’t receive any government donations. We talked quite a bit about HIV and AIDS as well – but I’ll be honest – I was snoozing through this whole presentation because it was right after a very filling lunch and I was exhausted. I promise to write more and get more info from other trip members for our trip report!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hola Sarah, Yadira, Fred, Lucian, Lynn, Jana, Stephen, and Rebecca,

Glad to hear about your full day. Get some rest ~ and post some pics next time if you can! In the meanwhile, keep enjoying the work ~ y las comidas. It's good to hear that there are organizations supporting las mujeres (women), and that you, in turn, are supporting them.

Hasta Luego, Lahn S. Kim