In the last few months, the amazing staff and community members of Project Limon have really shown just how much FIMRC means in the community and how strong they are in the face of adversity. In October 2017, Hurricane Nate hit hard in Nicaragua damaging numerous houses and buildings within the communities we serve. FIMRC took on a big role of providing immediate disaster relief for the weeks following the hurricane. One of the buildings that was hit hard was our therapy center for Los Pipitos. This center allowed us to provide learning and physical therapy to children with disabilities in the surrounding communities. Once the immediate relief calmed down, we were able to fundraise enough funds to completely repair the building and leave it in a better state so that it will hopefully withstand any other disasters that might come through and allow it to have a better space in order to expand our therapy program.
In early May, we were able to partner with Bonner Paddock Rinn and OM Foundation to not only provide the rest of the funds for the improvements on the building, but even more so invest completely in the therapy center. OM Foundation has built therapy centers for disabled children all around the world, and have now decided to help build and expand our current Los Pipitos program. The long term goal is to get specialists to work with the children to ensure that we are able to reach all children with disabilities within the community and eventually expand the programs to include education allowing children from our center to graduate out and participate in some kind of vocational training in order to learn a skill and be able to live independently. It is a lofty goal and will not happen overnight, but we look forward to where the program will go with this new partnership!
Also in May, right as we broke ground on the repairs to the therapy building, due to political unrest that ensued in Nicaragua, all international staff had to be evacuated out of the country and unfortunately volunteer trips were cancelled as well. All the other sites took on our volunteers without one complaint, which truly showed how much of a team FIMRC is, even though we are countries apart. This left our beloved, strong, and capable Nicaraguan staff to take over operations and that is exactly what they did. Most of our current programs have continued and have been thriving with a celebration that was held to promote breastfeeding, improvements to our Los Pipitos therapy program, and clinical operations working as usual. Their hard work and dedication to keep the clinic and all outreach programs running has been astonishing and we are so grateful to have such dedicated staff in Nicaragua.
In early June, our beloved Pediatrician, Dr. Gutierrez, passed away due to a scorpion sting. This news, on top of everything else that has happened in the last few months, shook all of our staff, volunteers, and community members to the core. The Project Limón staff were able to put on a memorial service for Dr. Gutierrez where her family, friends, and patients attended to pay tribute to one of the most amazing team members of FIMRC. Her legacy will live on forever in our hearts and no one will ever replace her. By early July, the amazing staff, while grieving the loss that they had suffered, worked hard to find a new pediatrician in order to maintain the services provided and give the much needed care to the children within our communities. We were able to hire another great friend and co-worker of Dr. Gutierrez, Dr. Medina, who has taken on the role as pediatrician at FIMRC, continuing to provide the same quality care to the children in the communities we serve.
Project Limón has had a year to remember, but through every challenge thrown our way, our amazing staff and entire FIMRC team has shined. I have never been so proud to be a part of a team as I am with FIMRC. Nicaragua, Project Limón your strength and dedication to serve is inspiring!
Below are photos from the memorial service held in Dra Gutierrez's honor.