Community ProjectsDENTAL HYGIENE & MEDICAL SERVICE TO RURAL COMMUNITIES:
In July 2013, the Division of Dental hygiene will be participating in their second medical
mission to Nicaragua. An interdisciplinary group of dentists, dental hygienists, dental hygiene students, physical
therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, nursing students, physicians, and a psychiatrist will be collaborating
to serve the high needs of rural communities residing outside of Granada, Nicaragua. Coordinators Vicki Gianopoulos
Pizanis, Elmer Gonzalez, and Diana Aboytes, faculty in the Department of Dental Medicine are working with two Granada
based programs, Casa Xalteva and Viva Nicaragua to prepare for this program. Casa Xalteva is a non-profit Spanish
school and community center founded by Dr. Kenneth Carpenter, director of International Programs and Studies at UNM;
and Viva Nicaragua coordinated by Carrie McCracken is another non-profit program that promotes sustainable development
in Nicaragua through learning programs.
Participants will travel abroad for 1 week to deliver health care to hundreds of patients that have many barriers to care. In addition, excursions and Spanish lessons will be organized daily to further introduce travelers to the landscape, rich culture and language of Nicaragua.
This program started in 2011 where 36 volunteers participated and treated 243 patients. Expanding to 55 participants this year, coordinators are optimistic to make more of a positive impact on the communities in Nicaragua, as well as offer a rich opportunity for more participants
Located past the southern edge of the Market, the Mercedes Mondragon school which serves roughly 1000 students is in a neighbor often overlooked by visitors.The inadequate bathroom situation came to our attention when "Si Quieres, Pueden Reir" – a three person project spearheaded by a Casa Xalteva's Juan Carlos and Jose Andres and former student/volunteer Kathryn Moncour – went to assess school supplies. There were only 2 bathrooms. That is, 1 bathroom for teachers and for students. Neither flushed.
The project work included building an underground septic tank, constructing 3 new bathrooms and 1 urinal, replacing actual toilets, adding two sinks, and placing 50 meters of underground water pipe to supply the bathrooms.
"Si Quieres" funded the project and Casa Xalteva contracted the construction team and provided volunteers.
Visit the "Si Quieres, Pueden Reir" Project page http://www.puedenreir.blogspot.com/
In 2007 a class of University of New Mexico students met with a grassroots women's organization that was raising funds to build low cost housing for families of maquiladora factory workers. The students were so inspired that they returned to the U.S. and were able to raise more than $16,000 to purchase a piece of land for construction of 50 houses. The land has been purchased and with the help of Spanish foundation, construction on the first houses and on a day care center begun.
SPORT OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN
Casa Xalteva organizes and runs sport events and leagues for children. Little League baseball 2009 in Granada was a great success. Granada representation in Little League went on to win nationals and to represent Nicaragua in the Latin American eliminations where the team made it to semi finals. On September 2009, our first basketball league for children formed with 7 teams from different communities (barrios) in Granada. Casa Xalteva's chess team placed second and third in an under-14 chess tournament in Granada. Casa Xalteva children had just been playing chess for about 6 months when they placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the tournament. We still can use all the support anyone can offer, especially in coaching Granada children teams.PEACE PALS PROJECT
Casa Xalteva staff and volunteers are participating in Peace Pals, an international program that links up Nicaraguan and U.S. school children. Currently kids in our day care program and students from some rural schools outside of Granada are linked with two schools in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and are exchanging letters about themselves and their lives.