Updated: April 7, 2013 at 12:00 am
Parasites are so extensive in the contaminated water of Nicaragua, parents can’t let their children drink it.
Because the water is undrinkable, parents give their children juice, which further exacerbates dental problems.
Corner of Love is a Christian organization that leads teams to serve in the Central American country 10 months of the year. Its mission is “to give ‘regular people’ the chance to attempt great things for God.”
Corner of Love isn’t affiliated with a particular church so anyone can participate. Often, families sign up to serve together.
The organization was started by Nelson Amador, a native of Nicaragua sent to the U.S. as a child during the country’s dangerous post-revolution period. Ten years later, Amador returned to his home country with his U.S. wife. While visiting, they witnessed a woman giving birth in the street because she had been denied admission to a local clinic.
The Amadors have been leading humanitarian groups on medical-dental brigades ever since.
Most of the missions are eight or nine days and, although they are centered on medical and dental needs, participants don’t need to be a doctor, nurse or dentist. There are plenty of jobs for everyone, including counting and sorting pills, lending “handyman” skills to small construction projects, and teaching.
Teams set up small clinics and provide limited medical and dental care. Patients aren’t required to pay. If they can afford it, they pay 45 cents for the checkup. Corner of Love matches the amount it collects and invests the money in helping the locals develop a water improvement project.
“Our goal is to help them with a sustainable development so they can rely on themselves to maintain it,” said Cailee Osterman, central U.S. operations manager for Corner of Love.
While in Nicaragua, the teams also distribute shoes and socks.
“In order to attend school, kids have to wear a specific type of black shoe.” Osterman said. “Many families can’t afford them or sometimes can only afford to buy them for one child.”
Along with the black shoes and socks, teams deliver clothing and toys.
“The kids go crazy over Beanie Babies,” Osterman said.