Through new eyes.
Michael Cammarata did not imagine either the distances or the remoteness of the location; he expected the area to be more open, with fewer trees – and the paths to the houses to be wider and less like the cattle trails that they are. Julie Sangimino could not have imagined the vastness of the region, the distances between Managua and Ocotal, and Ocotal and Cuje. Jake Brody loves the adventure and the people he meets in the field and is taken by the “celebrity” of the people whose names he’s seen in the interview data he’s studied in preparation for the trip. Jill Olszewski finds extraordinary opportunities to practice Spanish and is looking forward to her first day in the field tomorrow. Our newest team members are seeing the community for the first time, experiencing for themselves what their senior teammates have told them about the compelling and heartbreaking realities of northwest Nicaragua.
Our visit to the INPRHU center reminded us painfully of the history of American presence in this small corner of the world, including the complete destruction of the pine forests resulting in the transformation of the entire ecology of the region. Interestingly, local residents and hosts do not speak of these events and are unfailingly hospitable, generous, and kind. Neither do we make this the point of our time here – but we should not forget. And with each new MANOS crew, we pledge to ground ourselves in clear understandings of the history of U.S. – Nicaraguan relations.
The clinic was successful today: nearly 80 patients seen in an orderly, efficient, and medically appropriate way. Our newest medical provider (Patrick Schembri, ’87) joined seamlessly, the students managed the triage and pharmacy effectively, and residents of Buena Vista and Quebrada Grande were seen as promised. The field team worked in Chaguite, describing and mapping approximately 18 houses and completing interviews in 14. In addition, the field teams completed interviews with teachers, representatives of local government agencies (including the ministry of health), and a local pastor. In all, an amazing day of data gathering.
Team morale is good, and Margaret Summers (third year) has spearheaded a team prize: Tona man. Today’s winner is Michael Cammarata, selected for heroism in ensuring that a patient received medication even when someone (not to name names, Margaret Summers) failed to complete the pharmacy transaction.