Dear Madrona Wellness Readers~
As always, I hope this message finds you happy, healthy and feeling grateful. I suppose I'll skip the part in this update where I apologize for my (predictable) lapse in communication, I know you all understand and undoubtedly have been waiting with bated breath for my most recent Nicaraguan news!
These past months with Natural Doctors International has truly been a roller-coaster. We ran into some difficulties with the Ministry of Health that forced us to close our doors temporarily, which affected many patients in our small community who depend on our medications for serious conditions like diabetes, arthritis and many others. We are hopeful that this situation is near resolution, and we will continue to provide the much needed medical care that we have provided for over 10 years.
I am amidst our 50th natural medical brigade as we speak, and the silver lining of our above mentioned problem is that we've had the opportunity to bring this group to other communities in tremendous need. We spent 3 days volunteering with a clinic outside of Managua, in a neighborhood called Nueva Vida (new life). After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, thousands of Nicaraguans migrated to this area in search of aid, and the government built them "houses." Really, these homes are nothing more than tin and sheets, with 10 people living in a one or two room house. The rate of teenage pregnancy is astounding (7 out of 10 pregnancies in Nicaragua are girls 17 and under) and access to resources is next to nothing.
On day 4, we traveled to a town just north called Nagarote, where we've worked with an amazing project called NicaPhoto. Here, we've given classes on nutrition and sex ed (this really tested my translation skills!), and learned about biointensive farming practices being promoted country-wide to combat the rising hunger. Most of the children served by this wonderful organization are from a barrio called Sonrisa de Dios (smile of God), which is perhaps even more shocking than Nueva Vida. The government recently distributed 180 small plots of land to needy families, but the catch is they have to be physically living on the land, if not it gets taken away. This land used to be a soccer field, so there is no shade, the sun and wind are brutally strong, and they live without water, electricity, or latrines. They are prisoners in their homes, because if they leave even for an afternoon, the few possessions they own will be stolen. Their "houses" are plastic tents, and with the heavy rains of winter become flooded and the earth floors become pure mud.
This is reality here for so many people, and not only in Nicaragua. Over half of the worlds' population lives on less than $2.50/day. We are talking about an intense...a severe and shocking type of poverty. We are talking about daily hunger and illiteracy and hopelessness. And while seeing it makes me incredibly grateful for all I have, it makes me sick with the injustice that exists in the world.
Please consider supporting and/or continuing to support my work here. Having so recently witnessed this extreme poverty, I struggle to complain about the volunteer stipend I make that any one of these families would be elated to receive. Still, this doesn't change the fact that my US expenses don't just disappear. My goal is to stay and continue to help in the small ways that I can, and any help you can provide will go a very long way.
Lastly, consider sharing with others in your circles that are allies in fighting poverty and promoting global access to healthcare.
Thank you for taking the time to read, I wish you all a beautiful summer.