On March 12 a team of 15 Rotarians from Metro- port and Denton Clubs and one from Washington, DC traveled to Nicaragua to complete a project begun last year to construct a medical clinic for the people of Chinandega. In 2007 the team had been able to build a shell which has been used as a clinic since. The goal for 2008 was to build an addition to the clinic of two treatment rooms, adding approximately 1,000 square to the structure.
We were transported by van and driver from the airport to a local hotel near Chinandega where we stayed during the trip. The van also transported us to and from the clinic each day. We worked from around 7:30 a.m. until sundown each day.
There were a few local Peace Corp volunteers assisting us and some members of the Chinandega Rotary Club. The local children were very curious and would stand around and watch us work all day. Several of the local women showed up every day to help. I noticed one local woman carrying cement blocks on one hip and a baby on the other hip. We also had the assistance of two local con tractors .
During the days we laid concrete blocks, which were somewhat like building with Legos: three rows and then rebar, three rows and more rebar. Pour concrete between the hollows in the blocks. This was my first experience with new construction, and it was exciting to see our progress. I am proud to say we accompli shed our goal — we were able to erect the walls and put on the roof by the end of the trip. After we left, a local construction team will do the finish work — applying the stucco, building a patio, plumbing, and a fenced playground for the children.
During our trip, we visited several schools and distributed approximately 500 packages of Hygiene products that our clubs have been collecting — toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, floss. Some children had never seen floss before. We gave out the packets to all children in the first through third grades, and the children were very excited and appreciative to receive the gifts. One little boy said, "Navidad’ when he received his packet.
We also visited the upper grades (5th and 6th grades) and distributed ap proximately 150 dictionaries to those students. Every child received a new dictionary and they were very polite and appreciative. We had some extra hygiene packets which we distributed to these students.
One of the schools we visited was the school Rotary constructed three years ago, which was very meaningful to us to see the fruits of our labors. We delivered school supplies and clothing to these students .
One of the most interesting things we did was to participate in a ‘Feed’ for a poor neighborhood. We gathered vegetables which we chopped and prepared for a huge pot of soup. The broth for the soup was bones and cow udders, and the soup was cooked over an open fire. The children lined up with containers for the soup, and we feed approximately 400 peo ple that day. There was TV coverage on the day we assisted in the’Feed’.
We visited several other clinics while on this trip and delivered the medical supplies we were able to bring along in our suitcases. The government of Nicaragua provides the doctors and nurses to staff the clinics, however the communities must provide the equipment and medical supplies for the clinic. The equipment that we saw was very old and worn, and appeared to be donated. One of the clinics we visited needs an additional room, one clinic needs to be demolished and replaced. Another clinic located near a beach and had been damaged by a hurricane, but it appears that the building can be salvaged with some rehab. There are numerous future International projects in Nicaragua for our club to consider.
It was a great trip, and I learned so much about Rotary and myself during the week. We are so blessed to live where we live, and enjoy the lives we tend to take for granted. Our work in Nicara gua is far from over, but our efforts to improve the lives of these grateful people will have a huge impact on the people of Chinandega. Thanks to all who participated and supported our efforts with donations and prayers. This is truly what Rotary is all about — Service Above Self.
Metroport Rotary Club* Marriott Solana Hotel • 5 Village Circle • Westlake, TX 76262
Well, our project in Nicaragua was a unqualified success. For the thrid year we worked on a clinic, this time adding two rooms. Next year our goal is to fill the clinic with the latest medical equipment we can find in the US. (They dont even have an x-ray machine let alone a CT scan etc)
The good news is that we distributed the 3 cases(180) of Eng/ESP Dictionary’s that we purchased from the Dic Project into a school in Chindagega, Nicaragua. Please see the attached email below from our Rotary President Mike Mlinac AND the pictures. Under seperate cover I am sending our ‘Sunrise Bulletin’ with a cover story and more pictures of the trip, project and dictionary distribution. You may use the story/pictues as you see fit within your organization.
I have to share with you that I think the Dictionary Project is ‘THE BEST’. I know that you have been told that before, but to be able to further the cause of education and language throughout the world is the best way to understanding there is!!
Thanks for your help on this effort! You can now put Nicaragua on your ‘Map’ of success stories on your site and literature. Please credit Metroport Rotary of Westlake, Texas if you would. Our website is www.metroport.org Let me know if I can provide any further info. We hope to use the Dictionary Project again!
Dennis G. Anderson