My First Trip: Bilwi/Puerto Cabezas

After joining the Board of Directors of Adelante Mujer in July 2016 I made my first visit to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, the second poorest region in the Western Hemisphere, in December. I was thrilled to be able to travel to Bilwi/Puerto Cabezas, with Sister Diane Bauknecht, where we attended the graduation of nine (one not pictured) new Adelante Mujer Doctors.

I imagined that the new interns would continue to work in a hospital with immaculately polished floors. I anticipated seeing freshly painted walls hung with medical charts and prints of nature: tropical beach scenes and sunrises. Cabinets, drawers and doors would be neatly labeled, organized and filled with all the medical instruments a doctor would need to do her job. Surely, I would see private exam and waiting rooms.

The reality is that our new doctors face poverty and need to a degree that I did not anticipate. They enter a ‘hospital’ (a series of ramshackle buildings) where flee-ridden dogs, their bones visible through their matted fur, lurk around doorways begging for the least scrap of food. Patients lie on wooden benches or mats or stand barefoot on cement floors waiting in line for treatment. In a patient’s room I see a worn mattress covered with tattered sheets. Perhaps a former patient’s loved one has painted the mural I see of a comforting Jesus, which dominates one wall. Such is the faith of these people despite their suffering.

Medical instruments? She wears the stethoscope she received as a graduation gift from Adelante Mujer. Updated medical equipment is scarce.  These young women say never mind to what is now. They have a vision. They have earned their medical degrees. In spite of overwhelming odds, they are proud to be working in this hospital because they see a brighter future as they bring their healing touch to this world.

Your donations have made it possible for these nine altruistic, young women to achieve their dreams. They have become our newest Adelante Mujer doctors who are now serving the people who live in this region. This program is making tremendous difference, thanks to your generosity.

God bless you all for caring.
by Rita Thomas – January 5, 2017
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