Going to Nicaragua to work with FIMRC and Project Limon was not at all what I expected. There really is no way to prepare yourself for the culture shock of living with people who experience an entirely different world than what you're used to. To be a part of that world and to help those people, while remaining entirely culturally sensitive and using community leaders as stakeholders, was incredible. The work FIMRC does sets itself apart from other organizations in its specific focus on women and children in the community, and by tailoring its interventions in a way that incorporates local input and feedback to create the most sustainable and relevant programs.
The Micro Health Insurance Program was a fantastic example of this, as it was a program designed for community members experiencing extreme poverty to gain money by adhering to small but massively important health behaviors, such as having ventilation for indoor stoves and having mosquito nets covering childrens' beds. With each thing the family had on a checklist, they were given money to further improve their home. I worked directly with a family who was using some of the money to build a toilet/washroom outside of the main living area.
Outside of the clinic, life took some major adjusting to but looking back, I really miss the simplicity and true value of the family unit that I had come to love. The local family that I lived with were an incredible group of resilient, loving, strong, female-dominated people and I still speak to them today. They welcomed me as one of their own and were incredibly accommodating while managing their own daily struggles. I came to know them all individually as well as a larger family unit when I helped my host mother throw a baby shower in our home for one of her coworkers! What a fantastic cultural experience. I will admit that knowing very little Spanish when I arrived was challenging and isolating because I am a person who builds bonds through conversation. Over time though, you pick up things faster than you think you will, and somehow I still felt like part of the family with these individuals who took me into their home.
I gained valuable experience working with FIMRC with my pediatric assessment skills as interns were responsible for running the clinic on days that the pediatrician was there. As a nursing student, this will definitely improve my resume as a new grad and gives me the advantage of being able to say I provided culturally sensitive care to a group of well deserving individuals.
Overall, I have to say FIMRC and Project Limon was a life changing adventure that shaped the person I've become since and will always influence the care I provide as a practitioner going forward. For anyone wondering if this program is right for you, particularly if you study social work or any of the health professions, I'd definitely say yes!