Friday, September 5, 2008

Project HOPE Volunteer Provides Snap Shots from the Field in Nicaragua

While our first set of medical volunteers were on the USS Kearsarge in Latin America as part of Continuing Promise '08, Project HOPE also had a volunteer public affairs officer on board to capture moments, pictures, and stories from the field. Lynne, was aboard the Kearsarge for two weeks. She really did a wonderful job of capturing the day in life of a Project HOPE volunteer. Below is the first snap shot of a series that will be posted to our blog. Thanks for your support!

Snap Shots from the field... "Someone mentions it’s 122 F outside."

Or maybe it just feels like it outside Juan Amos Comenius High School in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. It’s barely 9 a.m. and already shirts are soaked through. Sweat streams down faces. Puffs of red dust swirl about as dozens of feet pound back and forth.

Inside the broad courtyard ringed by classrooms, Project HOPE volunteers, military doctors, nurses---medical, dental and optical—along with support people, are scrambling to man stations set up inside various classrooms. Hammers pound and saws whine as Seabees build benches for the school library, repair ceilings and re-wire dilapidated classrooms. A CH-53 E Super Stallion helicopter clatters overhead.

Hundreds of locals, including many indigenous people, the Miskito, are lined up outside a decrepit chain link fence, waiting to be pre-screened for the clinics. Curious, patient, they watch the controlled chaos.

Babies squall. Scrawny, emaciated dogs dart underfoot searching for scraps of food. Life is hard here in this remote, difficult-to-reach town on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, 232 miles from Managua over barely passable roads. People...dogs...every living thing appears to face an uphill battle to survive in this environment. Women fan themselves and mop faces with face cloths brought from home. Others walk about with small towels draped over their heads to ward off the burning sun.

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