Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Well, our site visit to Matagalpa was great. We got to our site early last morning and fell in love with it, immediately. It sits on top of a mountain and is surrounded As you can see, by jungle. There are several cloud forests located nearby and it itself is part of a cloud forest. The town is quite a bustling little place of about 10 thousand people, but there are all kinds of rural communities near that we will be working in as well. We spend the entire week with our colleges. That is to say the nicaraguan counterparts we will be working with. One from the local health center, one from the casa materna and one from Save the Children. We will inevitably have other people to work with from other NGO´s as well, but this is plenty to start off with. There are many opportunities for work in our community. This is a picture of some of the women at the casa materna who were listening to a charla about family planning.
We met with an english class that we will be teaching, and a youth group as well. We stayed with the family that we are required to live with for the first six weeks. We are not very happy to have to do this, but it is the policy. The good thing is that we are taking over this site from another health volunteer who is leaving. She has a house there and all the things in it that we can take over. These are some picures of the house. It is quite cute and in a cute little neighborhood. It needs some heather and kory style love, (paint and clorox) but it will be a good place for us. This is a picture of our future street, our house is on the left a ways down the path.This is our house (left) , grey. Yes. But homey and ours. And I must say that it is pretty safe. (T, I know what you are thinking.. and yes its safe for nicaragua.)
This is the backyard, full of banana and or plantain trees. Room for a garden I hope, amoungst the pools of dirty water gathering there.
This is Korys youth group and the fabulous project they finished the other day. THis is a mural about being healthy at a grade school. Pretty dang sweet!
Well. We are in the midst of semana sant. And as many of you know, this is a very exciting time for me. I have always wanted to be part of it. The problem is I cant see the forest for the trees right now because we are sooooo busy. I hope I can relax and see some of the festivities. There are processions every day. Religous movies on tv, and special foods galore. I think this bigger than Christmas here. The kids get the whole week off of school. If I have time, I will write more about what we saw and did after the week is over.
We have a new mailing address, so from now on, please send ALL MAIL TO THIS ADDRESS!
Monja Heather McKinnon or Monje Kory Fluckiger
Apartido Postal 58
Remember to send it in PAdded envelopes only, and smothered in religious (catholic) propoganda. Well. Signing off. Love heather
Saturday, March 1, 2008
We recieved our site assignment yesterday and it looks like we were fortunate enought to get our second choice for sites!
We will be living in the beautiful Department of Matagalpa! Beautiful mountains, coffee everwhere, and cloud forests with all kinds of wild life and exotic flowers! There are several Nature reserves very near. We will be living about 4 hours outside of Managua and our site is a medium sized community with about 10,000 people living in the city, but 60,000 people in the municipio. We will be working with all the little towns in the municipio as well. Our town has potable water and electricity! YEAH! It also has great vegetables because it is in a cooler climate!
As for our jobs there, We will be parntnered with MINSA (Ministry of Health) and will work with the following NGO´s as well-
- Save the Children just opened an office and has a work plan to stay for at least 5 and up to 15 years. They work on projects for the protection of children’s rights (especially important during coffee cutting season), assistance to teachers in the schools, and partly work in coordination with the dept. of community health at the health center and their work in PROCOSAN.
- CARE: Although the nearest office is located in Matagalpa, they work really closely with the health center. Their work is primarily in the support of training brigadistas. Agustin Diaz Suazo coordinates the training. Although the organization is still present, there are plans for the organization to leave very soon and work in a different municipality. There are discussions of passing off their responsibilities to Save the Children. No doubt support from these organizations will go through some readjustments during your service.
- Casa Materna: The objective with casas maternas is to provide refuge to women from the campo who are in their final weeks of a high-risk pregnancy. They stay in until it is time to deliver at the health center with doctors and nurses instead of a partera, far away from emergency medical services, in case the need should arrive. They receive check-ups at the health center and receive educational charlas from the PCV. Its an incredibly important resource for women to ensure the health and safety of them and their babies.
- Arco Iris: A small NGO from the States with an excellent reputation for good work in the community. They have a couple of different sectors in which they work. They give a lot of scholarships out to kids in the rural communities to be able to go to high school. They also support several comedores infantiles and family gardens. They also have a public health department where they conduct several capacitaciones to brigadistas and community leaders. They also employ two doctors who see attend to patients in the office and also go on salidas to the communities as well. There are many opportunities for lending support to this NGO.
- Red de Brigadistas: Composed of health volunteers from their communities and are responsible for being the link between MINSA and the members of that community by making referrals and occupying casas bases. An incredibly important and sustainable resource. There is also an association made up of about 5 or 6 brigadistas who are very active, experienced, and who have leadership experience.
- Accion Medica: This is the only organization in the municipality that has information on HIV/AIDS in. They are supposed to be planning activities for this year on promotion of AIDS education and condom usage and promotion.
-Training in the health center and casas maternas with pregnant ladies, about family planning, sexual health, breastfeeding, nutrition, self esteem or anything else we feel like,
-Rural outreach program under these same topics
-Working with rural vacination programs
-Providing house visits in rural communities,
-Assist with baby weighing programs and nutritional counseling for mothers
-PRoviding sexual health education to schools
-Form and train youth groups in health promotion
-Working with radio station and television stations to provide health education spots
-Teaching english to english teachers in the highschools
-Supporting MINSA with computer applications, technical reports and managing databases
Heather may also have the opportunity with an institution for recovering substance abusers in doing mental health, sports therapy, water sanitation, hygene and family gardens or agriculture.
We may also be following up on a grant to build a library in one of the smaller towns nearby, that the current volunteer started.
We will be visiting our site next saturday and can give some more specifics and photos. WE are very excited to be living in this site (even though we have never been there).
On a lighter note, I found this sweet spanish book at the office that tells us how to say all kinds of bad stuff. Some of it is pretty useful like, you have a booger in your nose, or, you have breath like a dragon, or ewe! (Guacala!)
I made this little video (if it freaking uploads before I post this blog) on a microbus, which is the standard form of transportation in between smaller towns.
Its taking a super long time, so if its not here, you may not get to see it. sorry.