This month I want to share my feelings and tell a story, a story of sacrifice, of learning, of friendship, and life lessons: a story that began 13 years ago. I decided to study medicine to relieve the pain of the most afflicted because medicine is a career in which we are at the service of our neighbor as well as our own advancement and self-improvement. Deep inside my soul had been planted the seed of a vocation for medicine. I did not choose medicine, it chose me. I knew I had all the qualities to be a good doctor.
I entered the Intercultural Medicine Program at URACCAN University when it first began in 2009. I could not afford even the mínimum program fees and had to charge them. During my second year I was stressed about how I would ever be able to follow my dream to become a doctor. It was then that I first met Sister Ann McKean, CSA at the convent in Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua and I told her my problem. That ángel of mine went to the university and paid my fees and when she brought the receipt to my home, I cried. That was how I became the first Adelante Mujer student and that was the beginning of my beautiful relationship with Sister Ann Continue reading “My Soul Friend, Sister Ann”
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 ~~~
Think about the choices you make each day – what to eat, what to wear, how you will spend your time. Oftentimes, you have multiple options. Here in the United States, most of us have choices between wants, not needs. But in countries like Nicaragua, that is often not the case. Young university women are faced with choices such as, “Do I spend money on a taxi to safely get to my destination or do I walk tonight so that I have enough money for a meal?”
The students in the Adelante Mujer program do not have to make that decision. Our program offers them funding for transportation to the hospital for on-site training and for a meal when they are on campus. Our program helps relieve some Continue reading “Choices”
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”
Throughout my 63 years as a Sister of St. Agnes, I have been blessed to work in various exciting and fulfilling ministries. Without a doubt, roles I played in Adelante Mujer these last seven-plus years were the ultimate definition of exciting and fulfilling! Working with Sister Ann McKean, CSA, PhD, the Foundress of Adelante Mujer, was never boring because her brilliant mind and daily ideas to improve the world were forever expanding. Interacting with more than one hundred medical students who overcome challenges beyond our comprehension was inspiring. Collaborating with numerous personnel in Nicaragua was a privilege and blessing as was working with our own office staff in Fond du Lac. Continue reading “Passing the Baton”
Thanks to so many people who responded generously to the request for donations to purchase laptops for Adelante Mujer students. During June, Adelante Mujer was able to provide much needed computers to 27 students! What a blessing. Please take a look at the smiles when Kathy Levy, the Adelante Mujer Coordinator in Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas presented the electronic treasures to medical students who will no longer be forced to study using cell phones they own or borrow.
Since the first class of Adelante Mujer students took the Hippocratic Oath on December 12, 2014, each new doctor has been presented a Littmann stethoscope as a graduation gift. We would pack them into our suitcases when we travelled to Nicaragua and observe the smiles, Continue reading “Can You Hear It Now…My Heart?”
We can proudly tell you where one of the Adelante Mujer doctors has gone and what she has accomplished. On March 26 a member of the first graduating class of Intercultural Medicine and of Adelante Mujer earned her title as Pediatrician from UNAN University in León, Nicaragua. Her letter below describes her gratitude. Each and every donor can celebrate her success which may not have been possible without your help.
Hello. I am Joice. I was part of the Adelante Mujer program almost from the beginning and with its support I was able to conclude the Intercultural Medicine career of URACCAN University. I have so much to thank for and I have so many memories of Adelante Mujer.
I still remember the day I arrived at the interview with Sister Ann McKean. I remember that Sister Ann thought I could be her interpreter because my friend Ana, who also was coming to ask for support of Adelante Mujer, told Sister Ann that I could interpret for us. That was a moment that caused us all to laugh. I do know some English but I could not be an interpreter! Continue reading “Where Have All the Doctors Gone?”
First of all, everyone receives a cordial greeting. I hope you are all in perfect health.
I am Jessica Ruiz Taylor, I am 19 years old, and I am a student of the 5th semester (year 3) of the Intercultural Medicine Career. I am originally from the City of Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas. I come from a poor but hardworking family, I have 9 siblings, I am one of the youngest. I have two excellent parents who struggle to bring us food home every day, who have instilled in me great values and that today I try to put them into practice to become in a great professional in the health area.