Friday, January 7, 2011
Connected - Gratitude - Love - Anticipation
By: Andrea DiMarco, Nicholas Jones, Jennifer Ocampo
These are the words that reflected the way we felt at this particular moment in time. However, these words could have been what we felt or we can feel these words throughout this delegation. We are all on the same boat where we are reflected inward and we are all on am emotional roller coaster, which will help up unite and bond in ways we’ve never imagined.
“Gracias Luis,” is what we said as we were walking off the bus. Little did we know, we would be introduced to a new experience that would make us look at the entire health care system differently.
Rosa Mendez, a doctor in public health, reproductive health to be specific, spoke to our delegation about what this part of the hospital provided their patients. She predominately dealt with girls from the ages of 10-19 who came to the center because they were pregnant, had HIV or AIDS, or suffered from a type of abuse (sexual or domestic). She provided us with a lot of information about the health care system and answered all our questions honestly.
An ultra sound machine is an essential part of monitoring the growth and development of a baby. However, it was devastating and unfortunate to hear that they have been lacking one for the past two years because it broke. It’s difficult to fathom that so many women had given birth without the use of an ultra sound machine. After hearing this, our delegation began to think of ways we can change this small problem that can make a huge difference in so many people’s lives, including the life of the unborn.
Listening about teen pregnancy is not something any of us are strangers to at all, however, being that we are in another country and the circumstances are different really opened our eyes to the Nicaraguan reality. Teen pregnancy in Nicaragua is something almost uncontrollable because of the strong beliefs against abortion and the lack of communication about sex within the youth and the parents but also in the school system. Abortion has always been something looked down upon in the Nicaraguan culture, mainly because of the Catholic faith, which is the predominant religion of the country.
“Si las muchachas quedan en embarazo , que mas se va hacer? Hay que tenerlo.” (If the girls end up pregnant, what else is there to do? They have to go through with it.) It was very difficult to hear Rosa touch up on this because we felt helpless in so many different ways. Rosa hinted that the country felt that it was very taboo to openly discuss about sex, whether it be at school, through classes or at home conversations with family members. This is definitely one of the main reasons why the teen pregnancy rate in Nicaragua is so high and in order for this situation to improve, she feels, and we agree, they need to take more preventive measures, classroom lectures and open up the line of communication about sex and safe practices because CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
The hospital offers a variety of programs for teen pregnant mothers. The programs are free of charge and can range in helping the mother learn, how to take care in the development of their child, to how they can use contraceptives, and to prevent future pregnancies. However, these programs tend to have no participation from the fathers due to work and time constraints, but mainly because the men leave once the women is pregnant because they have no judicial order into supporting the child. When I heard of this a statement came to mind, “Anyone can be a father but only a few can be a Dad”. It hurt me to hear that the men wouldn’t take responsibility into the upbringing of their child.