Dartmouth Team Departs for Nicaragua to Work on Community Projects


Twenty-one Dartmouth undergraduates, three fourth-year Dartmouth Medical School students, four medical professionals, and one Arts & Sciences faculty fellow carried their luggage and aspirations to an idling bus in Hanover, N.H., on December 9 as they began their 2,500-mile journey to Siuna, Nicaragua. They are members of the 2010 Cross Cultural Education & Service Program (CCESP) sponsored by the Tucker Foundation. This year’s trip, which runs from December 9 to 22, marks 10 years of Dartmouth College’s commitment to community service in the heart of Nicaragua’s resource-limited North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN).

The 2010 CCESP group on the morning of December 9. See full list of participants below. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

View a video slideshow of past Nicaragua trips.

The service-learning program serves a dual purpose, says Cameron Nutt ’11, student director of the CCESP and a major in medical anthropology. “It can help students ask how they might contribute to bridging the gap between what we know and what we do about the social inequities in the world. It also has the potential to form the foundations of pragmatic partnerships between communities and across traditional gradients of cultural difference and socioeconomic inequality.” Nutt, who plans to attend medical school, says he has learned at Dartmouth that “health is intimately tied to every front of the broader struggle for social and economic rights.”

Siuna is just one part of Nicaragua’s struggle to overcome structural violence caused by years of civil war, resource exploitation, and environmental disasters. A former gold mining town, the region lacks potable water, paved roads, and other basic infrastructure. The CCESP projects have focused on improving services related to these issues for the past nine years.

This year, the CCESP Community Health team, in partnership with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health, will run a clinic for approximately 500 community members, and give public health workshops to local providers. The CCESP Community Development team will support agricultural diversification projects, contribute to the completion of a school, and partner with local university students to construct cook stoves that reduce the incidence of asthma and respiratory infections by piping smoke outside of the home.

Before traveling to Siuna, the team members attended a 10-week seminar. The seminar focused on both general issues facing under-developed countries and the history, culture, and character of Nicaragua. Five faculty members from the departments of economics, government, history, Spanish and Portuguese, and from Dartmouth Medical School shared their expertise on global health equity, political economy, gender relations, and colonialism. When the group returns to campus they will continue their education through writing a reflection paper, debriefings, and presentations.

More than 200 Dartmouth students have participated in the Nicaragua CCESP since the first trip in 2001. The Tucker Foundation is making plans to partner with others to continue the trip in the future.

Story written by Dawood Yasin, Coordinator of Service Trips, Tucker Foundation

The 2010 CCESP Nicaragua Team includes:

Undergraduate Community Development Team: Emily Baxter ’11 Melissa Choy ’11 Mariah Coley ’11 (Public Relations Officer) Christine Goldrick ’11 (Logistics & Finance Officer) Jeremy Kaufmann ’12 Maha Malik ’13 Cameron Nutt ’11 (Student Director) Paul Seebacher ’11 Stephanie Takeuchi ’12 (Community Development Officer) Grace Taveras ’11 (Seminar Officer)

Undergraduate Community Health Team: Maria Barsky ’11 (Clinical Health Officer) Bryan Beattie ’11 Tommy Brothers ’11 Arielle Cannon ’12 Liana Chase ’11 (Seminar Officer) Brittany Ervin ’11 Paige Franklin ’12 Caitlin Keenan ’12 Savannah Martin ’13 Chris O’Connell ’13 Ricardo Vera ’12 (Public Health Officer)

Dartmouth Medical School Students: Kimberly Cartmill Jill Rosno James Thomas

Medical Professionals: Eileen Holmes, Dental Hygienist and Pediatric Hygienist, Steven Bachner’s Office of Pediatric Dentistry Elizabeth Morse, NP, Nurse Practitioner, Dartmouth College Health Service Jack Turco, MD, Director, Dartmouth College Health Service Alice Werbel, NP, Nurse Practitioner Per Diem, Dartmouth College Health Service

Dartmouth College Arts & Sciences Faculty Fellow: Doug Moody, Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese

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