Editor’s Note: This week, our reporter in the field, Leila Farahani, documents her experiences in northern Nicaragua, as Fara Foundation hosts its most comprehensive mission to date. International teams are stationed at Fara Clinic, Matagalpa Regional Hospital and other facilities. When it concludes on Aug. 4, the mission will have helped more than 1,000 underserved in this coffee-growing community.
MATAGALPA, NICARAGUA — by Leila Farahani
SUNDAY, JULY 29
Completely and totally exhausted after the first day in Matagalpa. We got here shortly before lunchtime. We have managed to get everyone and their stuff up here and separated between the clinic and hospital, where our teams will see patients. (With more than 45 medical professionals and volunteers, there’s a lot of medical equipment, and logistics have been complex.) The clinic managed to help about 20 people today (Sunday) in the clinic, which is great considering they started at 3 this afternoon. The first day is always the slowest, due to organizing everything, which means that tomorrow will be both busy and productive.
The doctors and nurses come from across the United States — from Seattle to Arizona, even to Chicago, and as far away as Luca in Italy. Everyone is very enthusiastic and happy to be here. Tomorrow the pediatric group will be working with a school outside of Matagalpa in the small ciudad of Dario. Four doctors will be in the clinic again tomorrow (Monday) to work on vein-related procedures, and a great portion of the group will be working at the hospital. Should be a fantastic and extremely productive day.
MONDAY, JULY 30
It really, really was a fantastic and extremely productive day. The clinic itself managed to help 95, just shy of 100 people with varicose vein procedures today. Myself and a group of others drove to a town outside of Matagalpa named Dario. We went to a small school for disabled children run by nuns. There was a group running pediatrics for the children that go to school there. Happened upon the doctor taking a break — leading the kids along dancing while he played the harmonica, lightening the mood for both children and their parents.
I helped translate with outpatient work for the parents of the children who go to school there. There was also an audiologist that went with us there. She will spend most, if not all, of her week in Dario fitting the kids with hearing aids. The kids were not used to hearing aids that didn’t also have cords and boxes that needed to be clipped on a belt — which is the only thing issued by the state here. I think we all learned sign language for the word “ugly,” because that’s what the kids thought of the state-issued hearing aids. Most of them are happy to find that is not the kind of hearing aid they will receive.
Cannot wait until tomorrow. Feel like we have really helped a great number of people here and will help many more this week!