Olive Tree Nicaragua Delegation
Year 11 Feb 23-Mar 7, 2018

Team: We had 22 enthusiastic United States members of the delegation, plus 12 energetic and cheerfully engaged University of Virginia students. We had 8 RN's (some with MSN's), a Doctor of Nursing Practice /Certified Nurse Midwife, one Nurse Practitioner, 1 OB-Gyn, 1 Family doctor, l IM/Peds doctor, 8 talented helpers including 1 logistics folk, one Veterinarian/esteemed cook with her also esteemed helper mom, and one acting pharmacist coordinator. We had our Nicaraguan Coordinator, and 10+Nicaraguan interpreters, 2 Nica drivers and one of our recently graduated pharmacy students.

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 were great helpers at 2 clinics and then moved to a project on Ometepe Island. We gave a set of health curriculum guides and other community health books to a library at the Casares middle/high school.

Clinics: We did 6 days of medical clinics at clinic sites treating nearly 500 patients and providing medicines for more. We worked with a Ministry of Health (MINSA) doctor at one site and with staff at a Casa Materna maternity site. Most common diagnoses were respiratory, nutrition, anemia, 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 Nicaragua formulary meds. We offered vision checks for those with visual complaints and for kids 6-12. We performed about 150 anemia tests with donated HemoCue cuvettes. One day's count of 56 patient tests revealed 33% anemia cases with cut off at 11.5 hemoglobin. Eye/Dental: Several hundred reading glasses and sunglasses were distributed. Dental fluoride treatments were provided for children. Customs and Supplies: We got all our supplies through customs inspections this year.

Medications: We purchased close to $1600 in medications in Nicaragua (US value much higher) and brought in approximately $1300 of meds from the US.

Continuing Care: From our clinic screenings, we have a list of about 40 people identified to get vision and dental services from a local dentist and eye doctor throughout 2018. Donations to Olive Tree help to cover these costs. 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 23 of the 25 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. We were again able to provide laptop computers this year for 6 students who have completed their first year and will be providing internet cost help for 3 high school students to aid their work. We have wonderful donors who help to support these students. We have 14 students who have finished their courses, English and or University degrees, and all but 3 have jobs in their field.

Costs for the eye, medical, dental and education program came to about $30,000 for 2017. Delegation costs are pending. The latter cost is raised at a fall "Soup Supper" fundraiser 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 1500 pounds of medical and children's 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, some purchased, some donated from US dentists and others, were distributed to patients as were soaps and lotions. More school uniforms were donated from St Mary's/St. Alphonsus grade school in Glens Falls, NY and distributed.

Rest and tourism: Many of the group took a few days when able to visit various areas of Nicaragua. This enriches the trip experience and the appreciation of our volunteers for Nicaragua and its people. Of course it also gives our delegation members a respite from work schedules and cold winter weather at home. Sites included San Juan del Sur, Granada, the lovely crater lake town of Catarina, Laguna Apoyo, the town and Volcanic National Park of Masaya, the popular Islands near Granada, Solentiname and the Rio San Juan area. Huehuete has lovely beaches. Nicaragua is a country with much natural beauty and great geographical diversity amidst great poverty.

The BUS: We used it this year again along with minivans and the truck.

Thank you to all who donated thought, time, money, encouragement, labor, books, clothing, supplies, and everything else. Thank you to all who took their valuable family and vacation time and paid their way to donate their skills. 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 some clinical planning; Ginny Scrivener for USA and NICA logistics, fundraising, and food preparation; Shirley Gonzalez Flores for in-Nica logistics and coordination throughout the year; all our delegation members; Barb for forms' printing; Blessings International; Soluciones de Vida, S.A.; the Indiana State Medical Association; HemoCue, Inc.; MINSA personnel; all our donors; our interpreters; our drivers; Carmelo who is the caretaker at the Huehuete house and Maria, Carmelo's daughter, who helped to keep the house and us clean and who assisted with cooking, laundry, and kitchen cleanup.

File: Report Nica March 21 2018