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Twenty-eight students, doctors participate in Nicaragua service program

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 12/10/09 • Media Contact: Office of Public Affairs (603) 646-3661

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By Manaure Francisquez, Class of 2011

Today a group of twenty-one undergraduates, one Arts & Sciences faculty fellow, three fourth-year Dartmouth Medical School students, and three health practitioners arrived in a place where most people live on 24-dollars a month, where there is no running water, and where solar panels and power generators represent luxury. This is Siuna, a rural city that lies at the heart of Nicaragua's undeveloped North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN).

Siuna embodies Nicaragua's struggle to overcome the devastation that years of natural resource exploitation, civil war, and environmental disasters have left behind. A former gold mining town, the region lacks potable water--Siuna's water contains dangerously high levels of arsenic and lead--in addition to paved roads and other basic infrastructure. Confronted with these conditions, it becomes apparent that there is much work to be done, work which the Tucker Foundation's Cross-Cultural Education and Service Program (CCESP) has been tackling for the past eight years. This year's trip runs from December 10 to December 23.

nicaragua Dartmouth's CCESP-Nicaragua Community Health Team in 2008.
(Photo courtesy Lynn White Cloud)

Founded in 2001, CCESP is a collaborative faculty and student-led community-based learning program that supports the dual goals of service and education enhancement. In Nicaragua, Tucker partners with Bridges to Community, a non-profit organization that brings volunteers to the area to work, learn, and reflect.

Past participants in the trip include Zachary Kaufman ’08, a Marshall Scholar, Milton Ochieng' ’04, who along with his brother went on to build a health clinic in his native village of Lwala, Kenya, and Ben Jastrzembski '08, who brought students from Nicaragua to study at Dartmouth.

The service component of the program involves working directly with Nicaraguan subsistence farmers, community leaders, and university students in rural areas to support locally-defined public health and rural infrastructure needs. The Dartmouth group is comprised of two teams which will tackle dual issues of health and community development. The health team, with the support of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health, will run a clinic for 300 to 500 community members, and give public health workshops to local providers. The community development team will support agricultural diversification projects, builds latrines, and improve cook stoves for the local community. The team will work with a focus on preventive health measures, including the reduction respiratory problems due to smoke in households, or pollution of water by human waste.

For the past three months all CCESP participants have attended a weekly, two-hour long seminar on topics related to Nicaragua. During these seminars, participants had the opportunity to hear from a Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center physician and professors from the economics, government, environmental studies, Latin American studies and anthropology departments. Participants were also given an opportunity to engage in a discussion with former Vice-President of Nicaragua, Sergio Ramirez, about poverty issues in the country, and the continuing social and political reverberations of the revolution. Additional speakers included Dartmouth's Senior Vice President Steven Kadish, who spoke about the values of short and long-term service work, as well as Jastrzembski, a former CCESP Student Director, who has been working in the Siuna area since his graduation. The educational component of the trip also includes work on cross-cultural competencies, team dynamics, ethical decision-making, reflection and assessment. When the group returns to campus they will continue their education with post-trip commitments that include writing a reflection paper, debriefings, and presentations.

Watch a 6-minute video about the trips to Nicaragua.

The 2009 CCESP Nicaragua group includes:


Community Development Team Undergraduate Participants:

Rukayat Ariganjoye '10

Liana Chase '11

Lily Chesnut '10 (Seminar Officer)

Dana Daugherty '10 (Finance and Logistics Officer)

Manaure Francisquez '11 (Student Director)

Javed Jaghai '12

Tara Kedia '12

Katrina Ortblad '10 (Community Development Officer)

Hannah Sehn '10

Mncedisi Sikhondze '11


Community Health Team Undergraduate Participants:

Maria Barsky '11

Kelly Bogaert '10 (Clinical Health Officer)

Dan Choi '11

Jim Doolin '10 (Seminar Officer)

Tiffany Ho '10

Bekey Lee '12 (Public Relations Officer)

Adi Rattner '10 (Public Health Officer

Alex Rivadeneira '10

Sladjana Skopelja '11

Derek Stenquist '10

Ricardo Vera '12


Dartmouth Medical School Students:

Paul Jensen

Melinda Pierce

Kaytee Welsh

Medical Professionals:

Dr. Margo Krasnoff

Dr. Jack Turco (Medical Director)

Joanne Hayes, ARNP


Dartmouth College Arts & Sciences Faculty Fellow:

Doug Moody, Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures


CCESP-Nicaragua Program Supervisor:

Lynn White Cloud (Senior Officer, International Service & Education, Tucker Foundation)



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