Each Nicaragua mission team is preceded by a small advance team which travels a few days before the full group to deal with the inevitable bureaucracy of the Nicaraguan government. The advance team’s work can prevent delays for the entire team, ensuring that the health professionals and others who are donating their time spend their days treating patients and working on construction projects, instead of waiting for approval to do so.

This year Nancy and Carla flew in Thursday night, arriving midnight. We went first to Action Christian Mission, which sells medicines to groups like ours, where we encountered our first delay. We couldn’t get the medicine we’d ordered because of a problem with the check.

So we left and went to grocery to buy clinic supplies such as baby bottles, a water pitcher to mix antibiotics, and the always necessary Coca Cola light! Then we bagged adult vitamins into 400 packets for home health kits. Each bag is to have 70 vitamins but some might have 72 or 68. After lunch we went back to Action Christian Mission, where we found that our check was now in order, but they explain we have overpaid by $142.

Our solution is to order $142 worth of additional medicine, trying to recall which items we sometimes run out of. We settle on more medicine to treat worms and extra soap and toothpaste. But as we go to load our order in the truck, we take inventory and we discover many necessary items from our original order are missing. An hour of debate ensues: Can we put back the extra stuff we ordered to spend the $142? Can we add on to our order and agree to pay the extra costs? Finally we are able to load the truck and depart for another pharmacy for extra items and to pick up 100 pair of reading glasses.

Finally, we visit with Luis, a local friend of our team, and see his home before we have dinner and return to our lodging to rest. The rest of our team will arrive on Saturday.

-Carla and Nancy

The work begins. Nancy sorting vitamins.
At the pharmacy. Supply list now complete.
Buying meds for the pharmacy we will assemble at our project site.