Alternative Winter Break – Nicaragua, Day 4

Alternative Winter Break in Nicaragua.

By Madysen Kovac and Sonia Ros
Photos by Alex Gumucio

Day 4: Teaching in El Tambo

Talks in El Tambo

We got to sleep in this morning… all the way until 08:00. No roosters seemed to stir this morning. After a quick breakfast, we caravanned out to the town of El Tambo to give seven different healthcare presentations to the community. The community hall where we were to give the presentations was beautiful. It was a building with red tiling on half of the floor and a stage up at the front. One end of the building was left open to air so the concrete and metal roofed building could breathe.

Madysen Kovac

When we arrived, Dr. Quintana walked around the village to round up a crowd of people to listen to the presentations. She impressively was able to find 14 people to come. The community was more than happy to come and learn; however, they needed a bit of time to prepare food before they came. It is harvesting season, you see, and the people of the community wake up around 03:00 just to harvest beans. We felt honored that they took time out of their busy season just to come and listen to us.

To kick off our presentations, Cierra and Anna spoke with the community about breast self-examination. They spoke in English, while our guide from Communidad Connect, Humberto, translated. It was kind of funny because they were very visual with their presentations and it was funny to have Humberto follow along with them. Next up was Grace and Claribel who presented, “Talk To Me Baby.” During the presentation, Grace demonstrated some of the concepts of the program by talking with one of the community member’s toddlers. Grace spoke in Spanish with the child and it was a cute interaction to observe.

Up next, Dan and Lauren gave their spiel about nutrition and used MyPlate as a visual representation. Following, Madysen and Sonia gave a talk about hypertension prevention and the possible risks of hypertension. The community was interested in having us take their blood pressures, as no one knew their blood pressure. The students jumped right in and began checking blood pressures. Once they did the reading, they explained the numbers and educated them further. Appropriately, the presentation on diabetes came next, taught by Gloria and Rebecca. Their teaching was important because although they don’t have a glucometer to check their blood sugar, the community was educated about the signs and symptoms of having a high or low blood sugar. They urged those in the community to seek help at a clinic if they experienced any of the signs or symptoms discussed, so the clinic could check their sugar.

Kathy and Yasmine spoke about a difficult and sensitive topic, domestic violence. They approached the topic with professionalism and tact. It is important to discuss this topic because those experiencing domestic violence sometimes feel that they are to blame. We clarified that the victim is never at fault. The women in the community understood the concept and even knew about the importance of speaking up if you are a victim. The women who said this was a brigadista and stated she had learned it from the television. Lastly, Alex spoke with the group about emergency preparedness, a topic which her and Dr. Quintana worked closely together on developing.

The community asked a lot of good questions about the topics as they related to themselves. These topics were not just randomly selected, but topics that the community asked for us to present on because they wanted to know more about them. They appreciate the time that we are taking with them to explain health concepts and answer questions. When they go to the doctor, they understand doctors may not have time to explain things in depth because they lead busy lives and they respect that. However, this can become a problem. For example, one of the community members has diabetes and her doctor told her to avoid rice and beans. However, she is afraid to eat any food because she is afraid it will make her blood sugar rise. Therefore, she is afraid to eat everything. We made sure to clarify this misconception before departing, by explaining that any food is okay to eat, in moderation. Also, we clarified that not eating anything is worse.

We ended the day a bit early to visit Dr. Quitana’s friend in El Tambo for a birthday celebration. There was dancing, food, cooking, music, desserts, and community! A fun time was had by all.

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