Herbal Studies Retreat this January in Nicaragua

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ATRAVES, a Nicaraguan nonprofit association working “to support creative, small-scale, locally controlled initiatives in development, education, health and social justice,” has a few unique opportunities I’d like to share. In addition to building health clinics, schools, and running other projects throughout Nicaragua, ATRAVES offers volunteer opportunities and can help plan and manage group delegations of “students, professionals, women’s groups, service organizations, your five best friends and your uncle—any group with an interest in learning or working in Nicaragua.” They also host a number of themed trips to Nicaragua and there still spaces available for their January Herbal Studies Retreat to Estelí, Juigalpa, and Managua.

I’ll let ATRAVES tell you all about it:

NICA (Nicaraguan InterCultural Alliance)
is sponsoring this seven-day retreat and herbal studies workshop to build a medical clinic in a very poor barrio on the outskirts of Managua. Our goal and mission is to provide health care and education to those desperately in need, in both rural and inner city barrios in Nicaragua. Our focus begins with compassionate action, while our goal of creating sustainability from within the communities we help is ever-present. As the proceeds from this January trip are going to build a new medical clinic, it is important that we fill every spot.

We will travel to Managua on January 5, and return January 13. We will study at an organic herb farm and clinic in the mountain city of Esteli, and from there travel by bus to ATRAVES‘ first clinic, located on a rural farming cooperative outside the mountain town of Juigalpa. There we will be met by professors from the Preventative Medicine department of the University of Managua (UNAN), as well as local ‘naturistas’ (similar to curanderas, or healers), for hands-on study of medicinal plants of Central America. All classes will be taught in both Spanish and English.

The clinic that we will build with proceeds from this trip will be located in a barrio on the outskirts of Managua, where 350 families currently live in 10 x 10 corrugated tin shacks, with no running water and no access to health care. Our focus is first on the children. We have completed a public health survey there that indicates a 40 percent malnutrition rate and as well, the women there currently receive no pre/post-natal care. With your support, and the support of this trip, we will complete construction on this clinic by summer 2008. Ongoing support for medical staff is being solicited through Rotary Clubs nationwide, and other charitable organizations. If you know of any organizations or angels that might provide ongoing funding, please forward this email to them on our behalf.

If you know anyone who wishes to join us simply for the cultural experience, we will provide extra-curricular activities as well. There are some who may wish to remain in-country for additional travel (the beaches and surfing remain somewhat undiscovered), or Spanish school, and we will be happy to arrange this for them.

Contact ATRAVES.

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