A Long Road

We often talk about the six years the women in Adelante Mujer spend in the Intercultural Medicine program at URACCAN University. These women work hard, often beginning their studies in a language that is not native to them. (Women from the remote areas of Nicaragua often speak Miskito or Rama, or another indigenous language. Those who do, will learn Spanish when they start at the university.) These women, most coming right from secondary school, begin studying physiology, anatomy, and medical vocabulary. They then add special medical areas such as the cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive and respiratory systems.  Finally, they study pharmacology, immunology, alternative medicine, and epidemiology. During all of their years, they spend time practicing their skills and seeing patients. When they are finished with the program, they take the Hippocratic oath.  

But that is not the end. They then spend a year doing an internship. They spend two years of required social service in return for the tuition money they receive from the government. Additionally, during this time, they do research and write a monograph on a specialized medical subject. They must defend their monograph to a professional panel. It is only after all of these steps that the women receive their diploma from URACCAN. They will then receive their MINSA code, similar to a medical license in the US. It is a long road, but the women in our program are becoming excellent doctors.

A graduate of the Adelante Mujer program, Dr. Joselyn poses with her new diploma.

~~~ Karen, November 2022 ~~~

Welcome to Our Newest Students

In late July, the students at URACCAN University started a new semester.  Seven of those students are new members of Adelante Mujer.  All seven are second-year students in the Intercultural Medicine program. They range in age from 17 to 23, and all have hopes to specialize in different areas of medicine, from obstetrics and gynecology to neurosurgery.

                     Yaritza, Nora, Elena, Verónica, Ashly, Adjanny, Shaimara

The women were very grateful to learn of their acceptance into the program. Here is a message from one of the students. “Thank you very much. I can’t find words to thank you for this great support that you gave me. I will always give my best at all times, thank you very much and blessings.”

Welcome to Yaritza, Nora, Elena, Verónica, Ashly, Adjanny, and Shaimara! May God bless you, your studies, and the people you will serve.

~~ Karen, September 2022 ~~

Connecting in a Pandemic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until December 2019, the director(s) of Adelante Mujer would travel to Nicaragua two times each year. While there, they would interview prospective students, meet with current students, and meet with the on-site coordinator. If the timing was right, they would even attend a promotion ceremony. All of these events are great ways to get to know the women in our program. Then COVID hit. 

Pandemic. Unprecedented. Social distancing. PPE. Quarantine. Virtual. New normal. Since early 2020, these words and phrases have taken on new significance. The world has changed. We have changed. Our ways of connecting have changed.  International travel has decreased by 73%, and until recently, in-person meetings were nearly non-existent. 

So how does a small international nonprofit make it work? Through Zoom, of course! Through Zoom meetings, we are able to stay in regular contact with our on-site coordinator. We can discuss the needs of the women, changes at the university, events that impact the people of Nicaragua. We also interview our prospective students over Zoom. The students at URACCAN often don’t have a computer, and some don’t even have phones. But for those determined to find a way to stay in school and who learn about Adelante Mujer, they overcome the barriers.  

Last semester, we interviewed four students, all using their phones. One had to find a spot to interview between her activities. Another had to go to a relative’s house to borrow a phone for the interview. All four interviewed well. We are only waiting for their grades from last semester to determine eligibility. The new semester starts soon, so please pray for Michayska, Jheymi, Josneira, and Arlen. They may be the next Adelante Mujer students! 

~~~ Karen, February 2022 ~~~

 

A Time of Waiting

Advent is a time of expectant waiting for Christians. During that time, we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Christmas, opening our minds and hearts to the coming of Christ. As Pope Francis stated, “Advent invites us to a commitment to vigilance, looking beyond ourselves, expanding our mind and heart in order to open ourselves up to the needs of people, of brothers and sisters, and to the desire for a new world.”  –  Pope Francis, Angelus, 2018

The women in Adelante Mujer are at a time in their lives where they are doing just that. They are looking beyond themselves and expanding their minds as they study their courses. Continue reading “A Time of Waiting”

The Difference You Make

Nicaragua, a land of natural beauty, has a culturally diverse population, with over 400,000 inhabitants identifying themselves as members of an indigenous or ethnic community.  Many of these indigenous peoples live in the Autonomous Regions of the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast.  In this rural area of the country, doctors and hospitals are in short supply, with a patient to doctor ratio of approximately 9,000 to 1.

According to the Pan American Health Organization, “To eliminate health inequities for indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, and members of other ethnic groups, it is essential to promote intercultural approaches. Intercultural health models such as complementary, traditional and integrative medicine (TCIM) contribute to self-determination by promoting self-care, Continue reading “The Difference You Make”

In Their Own Words

In July, we shared that our campaign to raise money for computers was a success.  Our onsite coordinator in Nicaragua wrote, “The girls told me to say thanks for this great help and some of them said that they were going to say thanks personally, they are so happy and thankful.”  Many of the women have written to show their gratitude for the computers, and for ongoing financial support.  We would like to share some of that appreciation in their own words.

“I already received the computer and I want to thank you infinitely for the support that you and together with the Continue reading “In Their Own Words”

Sixty-One Doctors and Counting

Several years ago when Sister Ann McKean, CSA, PhD and I were talking with Dr. Manuel Salas about the goals of Adelante Mujer, we asked how many doctors Nicaragua would need. Thirty? Fifty? About how many? His reply was simple. “We will never have enough;  there is such a terrible shortage.”  “All right,” we decided, “Adelante Mujer will continue to provide financial assistance to women medical students for as long as God and our donors help us.”

On March 24, 2021 another glorious success of Adelante Mujer’s mission became a reality. Seven industrious students pronounced the Hippocratic Oath to become devoted physicians.

 

 

 

The Promotion Ceremony begins with the formal introduction of each student and her escort. Here Jenny and her father are announced as they enter the assembly. Continue reading “Sixty-One Doctors and Counting”

And the Board Works On

Due to the current pandemic, our regular meeting room was closed the day before the March meeting of Adelante Mujer Board of Directors. Our gathering had to be cancelled. Voting on important issues was conducted by email responses and business pretty much continued as usual. Then, before the Annual Meeting scheduled in July, it was agreed that an in-person, half day session was less than feasible and, besides, the facility for the meeting was still closed to outsiders. This time a 3-hour meeting by Zoom was scheduled and, gratefully, it proceeded without a hitch. The important ministry of Adelante Mujer goes on without an office to work in and without a meeting room for nine devoted women to discuss business in our familiar space.  Continue reading “And the Board Works On”

How Students Apply Their Learning

Semester One of 2020 will soon be history for Adelante Mujer students in the Intercultural Medicine program of URACCAN University in northeast Nicaragua.  In addition to attending classes, doing assignments, and helping at the hospital, our students often do volunteer work by providing health care to family, neighbors, and needy people in the area.  Below are ventures of our sixth-year students.  Continue reading “How Students Apply Their Learning”