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Nicaragua Medical Project 2015
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Members of the Solvang, Santa Ynez Valley, Lompoc and San Luis Obispo Rotary Clubs have returned home from a medical mission to Nicaragua where they served the communities of Ciudad Sandino and Nueva Vida.

The delegation worked at the Nueva Vida Clinic from Oct. 26-30, supporting the overworked and underfunded local staff by seeing hundreds of patients daily and bringing in needed medical supplies. The Clinic was established in 1999 in response to a refugee resettlement program after Hurricane Mitch devastated parts of Nicaragua and Honduras. The resulting barrio houses thousands of poor families. The Clinic serves those in the barrio and in the nearby community of Ciudad Sandino.

Linda Johansen, International Chair for the Solvang Rotary, organized the trip of 17 members.

Dr. Art Kaslow, Yomaira De Leon and Pat Gimmer worked in the dentistry unit. They treated over 80 patients and performed over 85 procedures.

The cardiac unit, with Dr. Claudio Bonometti and Jose Adorno, treated more than 200 patients and also donated a $10,000 electrocardiogram (EKG) machine, while Max Jensen performed over 200 EKGs.

Dr. Dennis Bales and Ron Jones, in the ophthalmology unit, saw over 80 patients providing eye exams and glasses that would otherwise not have been affordable to patients whose average income is less that $2 per day.

Carol Anders, retired RN, and Tom Bormes, handled triage and check-in.

Norm and Jan Clevenger and Johansen worked in the pharmacy saving staff 120 hours and dispensing $5,000 worth of medicines.

Rob Klug, Rich Saferite and Joe Brown helped service the Clinic's construction needs by assembling rebar for a new building, digging trenches, extending a suction line to the new surgical unit, installing a roof air duct for suction housing, laying tile in the surgical unit, and providing over 120 hours of manual labor while sharing their skills with the staff.

Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital and Atterdag Village of Solvang provided many of the medical supplies the Rotary team took with them to Nueva Vida Clinic.

"We all returned home emotionally and physically exhausted but with touching memories of service to these lovely people," said Johansen.