Olive Tree Logo
The Olive Tree, Inc.
7 West Irwin Ave.
Hagerstown, MD 21742
EIN 42-2871181

Olive Tree Delegation

Year 8 February 26 - March 16, 2015

Team: We had 30 US members of the delegation, plus 12 energetic and cheerfully helpful University of Virginia students. We had 10 RN's(some with MSN's), 2 Certified Nurse Midwives(one with a MSN and other with a Doctor of Nursing Practice), 3 Family Nurse Practitioners, 2 Family docs, l Med/Peds doc, l Paramedic, 2 Physician Assistant students, 5 talented helpers, one Veterinarian/esteemed cook, and 3 logistics people among the USA volunteers. We had 6 Nicaraguan interpreters, several part time interpreters and 3 Nica drivers. Five of our university supported students helped out with interpreting, pharmacy, and nursing duties, continuing a practice which began last year. Members pay their own travel costs plus more for group expenses.

Website and Tax status: Our website is at www.olivetreenica.org and we continue to have 501c3 status making donations tax deductible for those who itemize. We have a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/olivetreenica.

Teaching and Birth Kits: We did two teaching days for rural health promoters in collaboration with the AMOS group. Our group provided space, food, transportation and teaching assistance. We reviewed normal pregnancy issues, nutrition, labor, childbirth and breastfeeding, plus emergency management of post-partum hemorrhage and neonatal respiratory problems. After demonstrating their use, we gave thirty totes with 6 emergency birth kits each to the AMOS health promoters for their use in their communities. See http://www.amoshealth.org.

Community Projects: One Hub City Vineyard Church member worked for two weeks with the William Minor library/education center project in Jinotepe. The Hub City Church team helped with the construction of the center in prior years. See http://www.nicaimpact.org/. The center provides English classes and library facilities. They also provide free internet access and computers in the town of Jinotepe, as well as educational supplies to the village of Huehuete where we do medical work.

Clinics: We did 9 l/2 days of medical clinics at 9 clinic sites treating about 819 patients. Two of the sites were at Nicaraguan Ministry of Health Centers (MINSA). We worked with two Ministry of Health doctors at two sites and one school for a total of 5 days. Most common diagnoses were respiratory, nutrition, GI, dermatology, gynecological complaints and hypertension. At our sites we did height, weight, and blood pressure checks, performed vision tests, applied fluoride varnish to teeth, recorded vital signs, and performed focused physical exams. We provided albendazole to all appropriate persons plus other needed medications using the Nicaragua formulary based medicines.

Vitamins: We distributed over 42,000 adult and children's vitamins. Most went to patients directly. Some were left in bulk at two of the government health centers, at a Senior citizen home, and at a children's day center.

Supplies: We distributed medical books, equipment, and supplies, including medical dressings, surgical and orthopedic supplies, blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes, infant caps and nebulizers to local health center physicians, a hospital, and to health promoters. First aid boxes were left at Casa Mateo Missions hotel for their staff and for their pre-school.

Medications: We used close to $4500 in medications (cost to us but with US value much higher). We purchased about 80% of this in Nicaragua with the rest purchased or donated in the United States. Leftover meds were left at MINSA health centers. MINSA clinic workers continue to report low supplies of many essential meds as well as lack of running water and intermittent electricity.

Eye/Dental: We distributed hundreds of pairs of reading glasses and sunglasses. We gave over 400 hundred fluoride treatments with materials generously donated by US dentists.

Continuing Care: We have a list of about 90 people from all sites who will get vision and dental services from a local dentist and eye doctor throughout 2015 based on our screenings and because of donations to Olive Tree. Our Nicaraguan coordinator Shirley Gonzalez Flores coordinates appointments with a local dentist and eye doctor for these patients from the end of March through October. We are grateful for their assistance and care.

Student support: We met with most of the 20 part and full time Nicaraguan University students whom we are assisting. We are supporting them with the costs of tuition, carnet, books, internet costs, transportation, and graduation costs. Significantly, with a large donation received for the education fund, we were again able to provide laptop computers this year for the 6 of our students who have completed their first year. We have four graduated students and 3 who plan to graduate this year. Unemployment and under employment remain issues due to the poor economic situation in the world and in Nicaragua and we hope to address that further in 2015-6.

Costs for eye, medical, dental and university came to about $30,000 for 2014. We anticipate higher costs for 2015 due to 3 additional students. Delegation costs are pending. Much of the latter cost is raised at a fall Soup Supper" at St. Ann's Church, Hagerstown MD.

Other donations: We distributed close to 2500 pounds of non-medical books, clothing, sports and school uniforms, shoes, art supplies and toys to people (estimates based on suitcase weight limits figuring about 42 people with at least 50 pounds each and others with 70 pounds.)

Large supply donations: One of the two HemoCue instruments plus cuvettes worth approximately $8000 from HemoCue company that were donated but retained in customs last year was donated to AMOS and the other will be saved for next year. Huehuete Health Center had sufficient cuvettes remaining for testing. Tooth brushes, paste, floss and fluoride were donated from US dentists. Soaps and lotions were collected from hotels; birthing kits were prepared by our team plus the UVA students; minor surgical instruments were recycled and sterilized by the nurses at a South Bend urgent care center; and school uniforms were donated from St Mary's/St. Alphonsus grade school in Glens Falls, NY. Olive Tree purchased 8 blood pressure kits, most of which were given to our new nursing and pharmacy university supported students as well as two oximeters. Other BP cuffs and stethoscopes were donated by members of the team and a Maryland free clinic helped with aspirin and cold medicines. Robinhood Surgicenter sent various medical supplies and Robinhood Orthopedic donated much new Durable Medical Equipment which was carried in by team members.

Rest and tourism: Various group volunteers visited Selva Negra in the Matagalpa highlands, the volcanoes at Ometepe, the lovely crater lake town of Catarina, the market in Masaya, and the popular Islands and town of Granada. Huehuete has lovely beaches and Jinotepe its vibrant markets and cooler evenings. Nicaragua is a country with much natural beauty and great geographical diversity amidst great poverty. There are many economic and infrastructure challenges. We do not begin to understand all the challenging political issues.

The BUS: We used it a lot this year and it was great. A long and tortuous story. Thanks Steve for all your work and negotiations on this.

Thank you to all who donated thought, time, money, encouragement, labor, books, clothing, supplies, and everything else. Thanks to Steve and Verna Raynor for coordinating things and for the use of their Pacific coast beach house, Ginny Scrivener for USA and NICA logistics, Shirley Gonzalez Flores for in-Nica logistics throughout the year, AMOS, Blessings International, Accion Cristiana Medica, the Schweitzers at Casa Mateo in Jinotepe, MINSA personnel, all our donors, all our interpreters, drivers and other Nica friends, Gilda Lyons and Yveth for a volunteer lunch, and Carmelo/Gloria at the Huehuete house.