A first ever medical clinic for a squatters community in Nicaragua

An abandoned coffee plantation just outside the city of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, has become home to more than 600 families, many of whom have no work, and nowhere else to go.

A medical team from Canada led by Andres Duarte and Rudy Van Der Stoel carried Physician Travel Packs to this village, offering free medical care to its inhabitants. Their report paints a picture of poverty, and of gratitude.

With a population of some 7,000 people, the Rio Grande Community does not have running water, not even a community well. Many people get their water from a polluted river, both for washing and for drinking. Sometimes people just wash themselves in puddles.

On the average, the children receive one meal a day and the remaining meals are acquired at the local dump which is within walking distance of the community.

There are families with 12 children. There are 12-year-old girls who have their own children. The children require vitamins, medicines for respiratory ailments and parasites.

There is no medical clinic or pharmacy in this community. Even if there was, the average person could not afford the medicines. There is no doctor available either. The team from Canada ran the first clinic to ever reach this community and the people, they say, were very grateful for everything that they received.

Van Der Stoel writes, “I want to express my deep appreciation to Health Partners International of Canada for supplying us with the medicines that were used effectively in treating people in the Rio Grande Community.”

The group is returning to Rio Grande to drill a well for the community and operate another free medical clinic.