Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 3: Adventures in Nueva Vida

Today was a roller coaster of emotions.  All of us were excited to go to Nueva Vida and knew that we had a full schedule for the day. Before going to the clinic at Nueva Vida, we made a visit to the dump. The dump is basically farm land that was sanctioned  by the mayor's office to be the home of the trash of the entire city of Ciudad Sandino and Nueva Vida. This dump was unlike anything that we had ever seen before. For as far as we could see was piles of picked through trash where the only things remaining were plastic bags and rubble of burned trash. The most surprising aspect of the dump was that herds of people could be seen digging through the mounds of garbage and chasing after the incoming dump trucks in order to be the first person to pick through the newly dumped trash. The people in the dump were searching for anything of value that they could use or sell. Many people actually make their living in the dump, searching for plastic, glass, or metal that they could sell. The people in the dump represent the most impoverished population of Nicaragua. Walking through this place we felt as if we were intruding to a lifestyle that didn't belong to us. From the gestures of the people in the dump it was clear that we were not wanted.

After that humbling experience, I'm pretty sure we can say that everyone was excited to head to the clinic for our experience with hands on work. Before getting started on the various projects for the door, we were given a tour of the clinic which has grown tremendously in the past few years due to the Bucknell Brigade. For very little, if any cost, the clinic gives residents of Cuidad Sandino access to doctors and pediatricians, western and herbal medicine, dentists and hygienists, family planning, counseling, and more. Today we were split into three working groups. Two people (Heather and Zach) were sent to the pharmacy where they aided the pharmacist, Daniela, in filling prescriptions for patients.  A second group was responsible for sweeping and painting the roof in order to prevent rain water from finding its way into the clinic. The remainder of the Brigadistas were out front painting the wall and gate surrounding the clinic to make it look for cheerful and inviting for patients and the surrounding residents. Everyone got something different out of their individual experience but especially given the morning we had, it was hard for us to see how our projects were impacting the community. After having time to reflect, we have a new mindset and are beginning to realize that even our small contributions can have a much greater additive impact than we could have imagined. We are looking forward to a full day at the clinic tomorrow with our new optimistic mindsets.

Nica Love,
Traci, Heather, Thuyvan

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