Greetings from Masaya!
We are in the final legs of our trip and wrapping up all of the work that we have accomplished thus far. Since our last update, we have met with the organizations Infancia Sin Fronteras, MARENA, MINSA, ENEL, Beneficio San Francisco, and AVODEC. From meeting with these organizations, we have been able to obtain more information from perspectives of the government, the private sector, and NGOs.
In the area of health, the common issues appear to revolve around respiratory illnesses, malnutrition, and maternal care. These problems are exacerbated by the lack of health centers and ambulances particularly within rural communities. These communities are often inaccessible by ambulances due to poor roads. Therefore, many individuals will die from otherwise preventable complications. A major source of health issues are attributed to poor hygienic practices and the lack of latrines. The absence of sanitation infrastructure and education leads to contaminated drinking water which in turn causes diarrhea, parasites, and skin diseases.
Nicaragua has been making many efforts to preserve its environment. It focuses on renewable energy sources such as hydroelectricity, solar, and wind energy. Additionally, Nicaragua has been conducting large scale reforestation projects. Many producers also engage in harmful agricultural practices which lead to water contamination in Nicaragua’s rivers and lakes. Water contamination in Nicaragua’s freshwater sources can damage hydroelectric plants and negatively affect biodiversity. From our visit to a wet coffee processing plant, we saw that the practice of washing coffee beans greatly decreases the pH and adds a strong, sweet odor to the water. As Jinotega depends greatly on coffee, the region needs more environmentally friendly methods to treat the byproducts of coffee production.
We are excited to bring all of this information back to DHE in the winter. We have a few ideas in mind and are planning to narrow these ideas down with the feedback of other group members and faculty. This trip has been an eye-opening experience, and we are excited to see the impact that DHE can make in Nicaragua.
-Angie, Aniksha, Daniel