The North American staff (Tommy and Christina) landed in Managua on Monday afternoon, grateful to be gearing up for a week of spending time with the Nicaraguan orphanage directors and feeding center pastors who ORPHANetwork partners with. The planning meetings will be focused on budgets, progress reports, needs and projects for the upcoming year, and naturally some fellowship and encouragement as well! After being greeted at the airport by Eddy and Alvaro, we headed to Verbo Sur church to see how the medical consultations were going. Dr. Janice, the new doctor in charge of the medical clinic in Nueva Vida, along with another doctor and nurse, were reviewing each child’s weight and height to track their development and BMI. Of the 60 children she has checked so far, Dr. Janice reported that the children of the Verbo Sur community are under the national average for malnourishment. This led into a long discussion with Pastor Jairo and the Verbo Sur staff about the fortified rice they use to help feed the kids. The rice consists of a mixture of soy, vitamins, minerals, and rice, served alongside locally bought produce and meat, in an effort to provide the children with well balanced meals and the proper nutrients they need. Verbo Sur’s strategy is to mix the fortified rice with regular rice to dilute the strong flavor; the kids prefer it that way as well. Pastor Jairo and his wife agreed that when they arrived to the Verbo Sur community nearly a decade ago, many kids were far more malnourished than they are today. They confirmed that the fortified rice they’ve had access to for the past few years has been essential in getting many kids to a healthy weight and BMI. We’re thankful for partners like Stop Hunger Now who help provide rice like this to our feeding center partners.
The workday ended with us being stuck in rush hour traffic, but this jam was a bit unusual. Blue and red flashing lights rounded the corner a block ahead, police motorcycles and SUVs zooming past. In the middle of the motorcade was none other than the newly reelected PRESIDENT, Daniel Ortega, driving one of the cars! Wow!