Julia Guth, Chair of the Board, The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic
2016 has been busy and extremely fruitful for the Clinic. We have lots of news and updates we are excited to share with you.
Our Annual “Puesta del Sol” Happy Hour/Fundraiser took place at Rancho Santana on January 14. We had an abundance of supporters who came to the event. Their enthusiasm sparked a lovely atmosphere. Thanks to their generosity, we were able to raise the funds necessary to purchase one of our wish list items: a fetal monitor.
The Clinic also hosted its Annual Healthcare Fair and Festival, where we offered free consultations and medicines. This year, the event happened on January 16, and it was the biggest one thus far.
About 600 people showed up from many different communities to be a part of this wonderful event. Children had a blast. It was a big festival – we had a clown, a moon bounce, piñatas and a trampoline!
Thank you, PASS! We recently received a very valuable donation from one of our partners, Pass LLC… a portable fumigator!
With the recent outbreak of the Zika virus and the many cases of dengue, malaria, and chikungunya in Nicaragua, this thermo-nebulization equipment will be properly used to support fumigation efforts in the area.
Volunteer Program – Travel With Purpose
The Roberto Clemente Clinic hosts hundreds of volunteers from all over the world. 2016 will be an amazing year for volunteers to contribute to many new Clinic projects for the community. Depending on their experience level, our volunteers can perform a range of activities, from taking vital signs and helping with patient intake to providing emergency care and performing minor surgeries. They are also able to work in our organic garden or with our clean water treatment and distribution program.
In January, we had our president, Dr. Mosquera, come down to train the team, as well as many medical volunteers, both local and from the U.S. They participated in our Healthcare Fair and Festival, giving free testing and consultations.
In February, we were excited to receive a large group of volunteers from Catholic University. The group was organized by Jennifer Maxwell, a longtime friend of our Clinic who arranges volunteer trips for Catholic University students every year. The students who traveled to the Clinic donated their time and expertise to improve the health of the underserved children living in the area, and we are very thankful for their continual support.
Healthy Eating Initiative
We started a Healthy Eating Initiative to battle the local high incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, tooth decay, weight gain and anemia.
We are able to produce enough organic vegetables for not only the community, but also local restaurants.
We work as a teaching community, where locals come to learn our natural techniques. We provide classes in basic gardening, soil enhancement, nutrition and natural pest control.
These classes are invaluable to our community members. The reality is that while many Nicaraguans have access to land, they do not possess the tools or knowledge necessary to yield crops for their families. Thus, land is often left unused and undeveloped.
Without our continued efforts to support programs like our organic garden, families in Nicaragua would continue in the cycle of poor health and a lack of access to resources. About 20 families help out and learn the appropriate techniques to ensure optimum production.
Our garden is one of the biggest, most productive organic gardens in the entire region of Nicaragua… and the word is getting out!
Our organic garden and Healthy Eating Initiative, combined with our medical team’s focus on curbing and treating diabetes in the region, caught the attention of Sam Talbot, a celebrity chef from New York City who was doing a culinary weekend at nearby Rancho Santana. Sam has Type 1 diabetes and recently came to the Clinic to learn what we are doing in the community to help with this critical issue.
As part of the Healthy Eating Initiative, we also started a Beekeeping Program. One of the benefits of breeding bees is ecological balance; another is the high nutritional value of the honey, which promotes higher levels of energy.
Originally, the main idea of the Beekeeping Program was to improve the ecological balance of our organic garden. Honeybees pollinate agricultural crops around the world every year.
Our current goal is to increase the production of each plant species grown in our garden. Furthermore, honeybee hives provide honey, which can be sold to create project sustainability.
Clean Water Initiative
A lot of what we treat at the Clinic is the direct result of contaminated water. Most families in the community do not have potable water; their wells are contaminated with bacteria from a nearby septic system, their water is too calcified, or their source of water has run dry from the terrible drought affecting the entire Pacific coast. (Even the bees are having a hard time!) We now have our own water treatment plant and distribution system for the community, and thanks to Rancho Santana‘s donation of some of their well yield, we have enough water.
The Clean Water Initiative started in late 2014. Our water treatment plant currently distributes an average of 1,195 gallons per month.
People from the community can refill their 5-gallon bottles for 30 Nicaraguan córdobas (US$1.10), which is nearly half the price of a commercial bottle at the store.
Chris Rios, a Harvard University graduate who will soon head to medical school, has been volunteering at the Clinic for several months and has made a huge impact on this project. He started a crowdfunding campaign, which hit its goal of raising enough funds to buy the vehicle for the distribution of the water.
The next step is to create a distribution route and reach communities located farther away, where the people are not able to come to the Clinic on a regular basis. We also give away 1-liter bottles to patients and people who visit the Clinic.
A Little Support Can Go a Long Way
Nicaragua is still the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti. There is a tremendous amount of work to do to get Nicaragua up to First World standards of healthcare and education.
What’s great about our Clinic is that we know how to effect change. Over the past 11 years, we’ve proven how effective we can be.
This year, the Clinic’s goal is to expand our emergency response equipment and training. We want a new portable X-ray machine and further training on U.S.-standard EMT protocols. The Clinic is involved with several critical emergency cases each month. We will focus on training the Clinic team to be U.S.-level “first responders.”
We make a tremendous impact on the community thanks to the generosity of you and our donors. We are a donor-supported 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in Maryland. To donate today to any of our programs, please click here. We’ve become an integral part of supporting and educating the residents of this part of Nicaragua who strive for a better life.
Julia C. Guth
Chair of the Board
The Roberto Clemente Health Clinic
P.S. Please consider making the Roberto Clemente Health Clinic part of your legacy giving. For more information and a special white paper on “2016 Estate Planning Strategies for Charitable Giving“, please email email@example.com.