I’m excited about the DFG and Global Links partnership for this project, because both organizations are supported by the Third Church mission committee which is how I was able to connect the two groups. I love making these connections that help all of us make a bigger impact in the world.
Our last up-date about the 500 kits we sent to Nicaragua came in October when we learned that the kits arrived and were distributed at the hospital but that restrictions were preventing the kits from being distributed at the second planned location.
We received this update from Veronica Trimmino Marroquin the Program Manager, International Medical Aid for Global Links. The following are her words:
As I mentioned before, our consultant in Nicaragua received the kits and was in contact with the Psych Hospital and the Women’s prison for the delivery of the kits and the training. The kits were delivered to the director of the Psych Hospital, who received the training from our consultant. She in turn, will provide the training for the caretakers and the patients.
Unfortunately due to the onset of COVID 19 and all the precautionary measures, our consultant was not able to have access to the women’s prison. They said they could not guarantee that if she left the kits there they would get to the inmates. So we decided not to leave any kits for now, until we can be sure the women will receive them.
On November 3rd, Hurricane Eta, a category 4 hurricane, made landfall along the Carribean coast in north-eastern Nicaragua, just south of the Municipality of Biliwi. The municipality and the entire region are indigenous lands. Eta moved slowly across Central America, meaning sustained winds of up to 140 mph and high levels of rain as the storm lingered. Powerful winds knocked out power lines and cellphone grids and trees, and damaged infrastructure. Flooding became a major concern as roads and bridges were washed out, cutting off access to the more remote areas impacted by the storm and triggering landslides. Tens of thousands of individuals were displaced from their homes into emergency shelters.
Relief efforts were severely hampered when just 2 weeks later, on November 16th, Hurricane Iota, a stronger Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 155 mph, hit Nicaragua only 15 miles south of where Hurricane Eta first made landfall. Officials say this is the most powerful storm to ever hit the country. The extent of the destruction is still being pieced together as phone and internet service are still being restored, and almost all contact was cut off to Bilwi, where both storms made landfall.
Thanks to our good relations with other agencies in the country, Global Links’ advisor for International Medical Aid was able to visit Biliwi the last week of January, the area affected by hurricanes Eta and Iota in Nicaragua, together with representatives of United Nations agencies and a team of health professionals. The objective of the visit was to assess the damage caused by the hurricanes and formulate a collaborative action plan for the rebuilding and the reestablishment of services in the area. The visit also served to provide technical assistance for the first mobile health brigade in the area since the hurricanes.
During the visit, Global Links’ representative delivered the remaining kits from Days for Girls to the women in the affected areas and a girls shelter, that provides housing and care for girls and adolescents who have been victims of physical and sexual violence. I have pictures and even a beautiful video of one of the girls translating to Miskito (their native language) how to use and care for the kits. Due to the nature of the shelter and to protect the identities of the children, we can’t share any of these in Social Media. However, if you are still interested, I can make a presentation to your group and share more information about the area and the project.
This year we will focus our efforts in supporting the establishment of health services in the affected areas. We would love to continue our partnership and see if Days for Girls would be interested in providing more kits for the women and girls in the area.
2020 was certainly a year in which I learned that even when things do not go as planned, that it’s possible that things will still turn out good.