By Junessa-Sladen Dew
Finding yourself in a new country and community is always a difficult process but my welcome into Clinica Verde opened a gate that allowed me to feel accepted in a matter of hours. My first week here showed me the intricacies of the different departments that work in the clinic and how interconnected the staff must be to give the high level of care continuously present. The methodology used within the clinic un-relentlessly showed me how the humanizing care benefits everyone in Boaco. Alongside work in the clinic, I was able to do visits to outreach clinics and visit rural villages. This opportunity gave me an insightful experience into the struggles of many families in Nicaragua as well as the struggles that Clinica Verde must deal with on a day-to-day basis. Although at times I wish I could do more for everyone here, every moment here is a learning experience I hope to be able to use in the future.
A moment that shone through in the last week was my introduction to the youth development group at Clinica Verde and the evening we spent together making posters for HIV awareness month. The casual conversation, the excited emotions about the upcoming HIV fair and the curiosity about the subject gave me hope that younger generations will be able to make our future a brighter one. The simple work of painting a map of the world created a conversation that quickly bridged the difference in culture and upbringing and ended in laughter and smiles the entire evening.
Each teenager had a different story that was filled with loss and hardship but also love and happiness and without hesitation many of the young adults attributed Clinica Verde to their success in their last years of high school. These teens were able to express not only the emotional support they received but also the health education, social awareness and close friends they had, thanks to Clinica Verde nurse Yessica Solano and the TeenSmart program. With each story, my thoughts of Clinica Verde were strengthened and I finally believed that this was an organization worth standing behind.
Junessa Sladen-Dew is a student at UNC who served as an intern at Clinica Verde in May.