NDI community projects are designed to inspire, uplift, and educate local peoples. Projects in Nicaragua aim to stimulate local volunteerism, engender community participation and make permanent change.
Co-developed with NDI Program Coordinator, Nestor Guzman Dinarte
, this program has two arms - providing education to local farmers and promoting solidarity with farmers and foreign students. This program matches participants that attend our global health courses with local farmers so students can learn
where their food comes from and the joys and difficulties of being a subsistence farmer. Students also have the opportunity to link health issues that result from farming with clinical experience. The program promotes solidarity between North and Latin Americans with the goal to help develop friendships between the two groups. Local farmer education initiatives have included working with tobacco farmers to diminish toxic pesticide exposure. In 2008, entomologist Linda Wiener from Santa Fe, New Mexico offered her expertise to help investigate a series of poisonings of tobacco workers. Through Linda’s engagement with the community and investigative sleuthing work, she was able to identify the cause as Green Tobacco Sickness, a common illness that affects tobacco workers worldwide. Working in collaboration with all constituents involved, NDI led meetings that included local tobacco pickers (all women and children), tobacco farmers, tobacco companies that buy from the farmers, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Mayors Office.
Island Clean Up: La Isla Bonita
As garbage service is cost prohibitive for many families and the community does not provide sufficient trashcans, littering is commonplace. Often families will burn trash to forego the expense of trash collection. This trash, especially plastic bags, bottles, glass, tin cans and other containers, fill up with rain creating still water – the perfect breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes. The result is an increase in both risk and transmission of dengue fever and other diseases. The Ministry of Health organizes trash clean up to educate the public on the importance of keeping their living spaces clean and NDI participates whenever possible.
Sponsor a Team
NDI began by sponsoring a baseball team from Los Angeles, Ometepe. In the past, players did not practice and often arrived at the games intoxicated. New uniforms engendered a sense of pride in the team and in self. Players are attending regular practices on time and intoxication is virtually eliminated. Additionally, men on the island who rarely go to the hospital are now offered yearly physical examinations with an NDI physician. What seemed like a simple project has done more for the health of the entire community than any medicine. In 2008, a program is in development to combine sport sponsorship in youth teams with AIDS/HIV education programs. The goal is to work with kids to get more education about safe sex practices and condom use and the importance of getting tested for HIV.
Art Project: Painting “La Cancha”
This 4-day project could not have been realized without the tremendous efforts of Josúe Rojas of San Francisco, a native Salvadoran artist. Over 100 kids and adults came out to paint “La Cancha”, the community ball courts where townsfolk spend their evenings talking and hanging out. The project inspired people of all ages to express themselves through artwork. Local kids were filled with a sense of pride as they took brushes in hand and watched their old faded walls transform into new murals that have become the talk of the island. Painting “La Cancha” has been, by far, the most fun project that NDI has done so far!
Retired Northeast Utilities worker, Clifford Parker, made his first trek to Central America in May of 2005 where he worked for 2 weeks re-wiring the Moyogalpa Center of Health. Mr. Parker found the original wiring to be quite advanced, but found that environmental factors, particularly the humidity and insects, had damaged many light fixtures and switches. Thank you Cliff for brightening our world in Nicaragua.