Giving back to humanity in Nicaragua
I recently had the great pleasure of traveling with IHS Clinic group to Malpaisillo, Nicaragua to assist this dedicated group of professionals and selfless humanitarians in opening a medical clinic. Angie Hoover and her husband founded www.inhisstepsclinic.org driven by the conviction that people living in desperate conditions deserve to live a healthy life.
While my purpose was to document the clinic's grand opening, assist with the final touches (painting, etc) and donate my time to aiding the locals, I was overtaken by the lack of basic resources available. Please consider contacting Angie to see how you may contribute whether that be time, resources or money. Below you'll find photos documenting this incredible journey.
The team was comprised of doctors and medical staff from different disciplines. A medical background isn't required. Several volunteers, like me, helped with finishing touches of the clinic.
Angie Hoover, showing the children of Nueva Vida their portrait.
One hut of many situated on the outskirts of a landfill in Nueva Vida. Nueva Vida is a settlement where living conditions are below standard. Some say this is one of the poorest and densely populated areas in Nicaragua.
Our goal in Nueva Vida was to build a makeshift clinic to conduct medical assessment and provide care. We also drove inside the landfill where we handed out candy, snack and water.
Children and adults sift through a massive landfill looking for anything they can sell, recycle or eat.
The little ones were excited to see us and some even climbed up the ladder while the vehicle was in motion. Our driver had to frequently ask them to get down as this was not safe.
A young man looking for anything useful while a fire burns right behind him.
Candy is a universal ice-breaker! I carried some in my pocket to give them out while walking in the streets. This girl was a bit hesitant at first when she saw me with a camera.
Even though the children did not have much when it came to possessions, they seemed to enjoy themselves with whatever they had.
The inviting and comforting smell of fresh pastry brought me to this bakery in the center of Malpaisillo.
Visiting a local market is certainly a great way to witness firsthand what the land and its people can produce. I was in awe at the vibrant color of the fruit and vegetables displayed in this market in the city of Leon.
I had the great opportunity to travel to a volcano called Cerro Negro (Black Hill). The surrounding black terrain around the caldera created a striking contrast with the green vegetation in the distance.
The plan was to slide down the side of the volcano once we reached the top. We each were given a wooden plank before the ascent and that is what we sat on to slide down the side. It took about an hour to reach the top and two minutes to slide down to the bottom. It was truly an exhilarating experience.
Visited some geological thermal vents a short distance from Malpaisillo. The children there were eager to show us this unique site. They collect mud that forms around the opening of these vents and make objects and ornaments to sell to visitors.
The venting steam was quite hot for me but these kids did not seem to be bothered by it.
Before we left Nicaragua, we visited the city of Granada which is located at the south east of Managua. The streets here were bustling with life and activity. People sat outside enjoying a late afternoon lunch and sipping coffee. Some set up table displays to sell leather goods and other things.
This young girl was standing across the street and I really liked the soft late afternoon light falling on her.
Nicaragua was truly an amazing and eyeopening experience for me. It has given me a new perspective on my own life and made me realize that nothing should even be taken for granted.
The people are genuinely warm and friendly. I hope to have another opportunity in the future to revisit.