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

Olive Tree Nicaragua Delegation
Year 9 Feb 18-Mar 12, 2016

Team: We had 23 enthusiastic United States members of the delegation, plus 12 energetic and cheerfully helpful University of Virginia students. We had 9 RN's(some with MSN's), a Certified Nurse Midwive/Doctor of Nursing Practice, 2 FamilyNurse Practitioners, 2 Family docs, 5 talented helpers, one Veterinarian/esteemed cook, 1 logistics person and 1 teenager. We had our Coordinator, 6 Nicaraguan interpreters, several part time interpreters and 3+ Nica drivers. Four of our university supported students helped out with interpreting and pharmacy duties which gives them a small paid job and practical experience.

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. Members pay their own travel costs to and from Nicaragua plus an additional sum for group expenses, ie., housing, in-country transport, and food.

Community Projects: Our UVA students helped with a building project at Hotel Merida on Ometepe Island and Steve helped Clinics: We did 8 days of medical clinics at clinic sites treating about 819 patients. We worked with two Ministry of Health (MINSA) doctors at three sites and a special Health Ministry nurse at Casa Materna, a house for expectant mothers. Most common diagnoses were respiratory, nutrition, GI, dermatology, gynecology and hypertension. At our sites we did height, weight, and blood pressure checks and performed focused physical exams. We provided the anti-parasite medicine albendazole to all appropriate persons plus other needed medications using the Nicaragua formulary based medicines.

Customs problems: We were unable to get our vitamins, our fluoride varnish and some other medications and supplies through Nicaragua Customs this year. This included about $1200 of high quality certified medications. Customs stated that we had not submitted proper forms in advance. We made strong efforts to correct the forms to no avail. They just would not be moved. The medications were finally released to us but only for return to the US. The same was true of donated hygiene bags, soaps, eyeglasses and veterinary supplies. We plan to take these back to Nicaragua over the next year.

Supplies: We did get many things through. We distributed medical books, surgical and orthopedic supplies, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and infant and children's clothing to local health center physicians, to a hospital, and to patients. First aid boxes were left at Casa Mateo Missions hotel for their staff and for their pre-school. We donated a computer loaded with preschool children's games to the Casa Mateo preschool and a Lego set and other educational toys to the Huehuete. preschool.

Medications: We purchased close to $2500 in medications in Nicaragua (US value much higher). Leftover meds were left at MINSA health centers. MINSA health center workers continue to report low supplies of many essential meds

Eye/Dental: Many reading glasses, sunglasses and dental flouride were confiscated by Customs, but we got some through and had sufficient reading glasses stored from 2015 to provide these to patients who needed them at our clinics.

Continuing Care: We have a list of about 24 people from all sites who will get vision and dental services from a local dentistand eye doctor throughout 2016 based on our screenings and using 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. Patients express gratitude for this care. We also get additional requests for help throughout the year.

Student support: We met with most of the 22 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 as well as ongoing donations, we were again able to provide laptop computers this year for 2 of our students who have completed their first year, replaced two that were not working, and provided a netbook to one student whose computer was stolen. We have targeted four previously donated computers for repairs. Several of our graduated students have requested further help with English classes as this is a requisite for obtaining certain jobs. Unemployment and under employment remain issues due to the poor economic situation in the world and in Nicaragua.

Costs for eye, medical, dental and university came to about $30,000 for 2015. Delegation costs are pending. The latter cost is raised at a fall Soup Supper" at St. Ann's Church, Hagerstown MD and by other donations in addition to delegation member fees. These funds go for housing, in-country transportation, payment for interpreters, and food.

Other donations: We distributed close to 1800 pounds of non-medical books, clothing, sports and school uniforms, shoes, art supplies and toys to people (estimates based on suitcase weight limits.)

Large supply donations: Tooth brushes, paste, floss and fluoride were donated from US dentists. Soaps and lotions were collected. 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 6 glucometers with strips and 3 blood pressure kits and we gave these to students or to patients needing them.

Rest and tourism: Many of the group took a few days when able to visit various areas of Nicaragua. This enriches the trip experience. Sites included San Juan del Sur, the volcanoes at Ometepe and Mombacho, the lovely crater lake town of Catarina, and the popular Islands and town of Granada. The base sites of Huehuete has lovely beaches and Jinotepe vibrant markets and cooler evenings. Nicaragua is a country with much natural beauty and great geographical diversity amidst great poverty.

The BUS: We used it a lot this year again. We have need of a smaller vehicle for flexibility. Thanks Steve for all your work and negotiations on this and the donors who have helped with 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, Peter Smith and Ellyn Stecker for pharmacy and clinical planning, Ginny Scrivener for USA and NICA logistics and Food preparation, Shirley Gonzalez Flores for in-Nica logistics throughout the year, all our delegaton members, 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 friends for a volunteer lunch, and Carmelo and Gloria who are caretakers at the Huehuete house.

File: Report Nica 2016 April