Chacraseca is a 59 square mile farming community just east of Leon, near the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua. Most of the 9200 residents are subsistence farmers, averaging less than $2 per day per family in income. Life is lived constantly on the edge, but rather than despair, the community has chosen to organize to work together to realize their dreams of a better life for all. Following the “comunidades de base” model of organization, Chacraseca’s 13 sectors have organized into a “pastoral committee” with elected representation from each geographic sector, and a coordinating committee. They meet weekly to discuss community needs and coordinate community life.
Currently, with the support of solidarity partners from North America, the pastoral committee manages 12 communal projects including a clinic, several agricultural support projects, scholarship programs for primary, secondary, and university schooling, as well as several micro-lending banks for women’s business projects. They also have trained “delegates of the word” who assist with the spiritual nurture of the community, and a retreat center – Casa de Paz – which hosts community training events, spiritual retreats, and cultural exchanges, as well as housing work groups.
In 2016, the Power of a Nickel medical outreach teams enlarged their presence at the request of the Ministry of Health in Nicaragua to include several needy areas near Chacraseca and Leon.
The goals of medical outreach groups to Chacraseca are to:
- Continue to build relationships with the villages comprising Chacraseca and nearby areas
- Fulfill requests by the community leadership for specific needs for individuals identified
- Provide competent, appropriate medical care to an extremely underserved population
- Facilitate educational opportunities for the sectors of the community as requested by the community leadership team
- Partner with local physicians and dentist to better understand the needs and culturally appropriate care of this population and to serve as educational resources to the Nicaraguan physicians/dentists
- Request referrals for other services provided by the Nicaraguan medical system
- Supply much needed medications and supplies for the community healthcare team that remain from our week long outreach teams
- Offer safe learning environment for medical students, other healthcare personnel, and ancillary team members
- Allow learning experiences for medical students and other healthcare students
- Give intensive training of students in the art of medicine – without the use of lab, x-rays, and other technology. Students are encouraged to use their mind and hands to evaluate and treat patients
- Furnish opportunities to learn about a different culture and global issues encountered