Saturday, March 1, 2008

MATAGALPA, NICARAGUA... Here we come!!!

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.
Other things we will be doing -
-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.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Congrats guys, looks like you made it and its going to be quite a nice two years! Electricity and everything! How exciting for you. Can't wait to come and visit your fancy house.