There was a ceremony for the opening of the third Sister City supported computer classroom last month when Sister City Board members Lois Statlender and Richard Segan were in Quezalguaque. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, all three high schools in Quezalguaque now have computer classrooms. Although not all high school students can use the classrooms because of the large number of students and limited number of computers, they believe that these first computer classrooms in the public schools have been an important step forward.
Quezalguaque is a community where very few students have access to computers and we hoped that these first computer classrooms would not only be used to learn basic computer skills but would be also be used to introduce the power of the internet. It was therefore very exciting to see that the computer classrooms were already being booked by non-computer teachers for use by their classes. We observed, for example, students in a biology class using the computer classroom for research.
As an outgrowth of concerns about malnutrition raised by health officials in Quezalguaque, we began preliminary planning with local health officials and with UNAN medical school in nearby Leon on a project to look at problems of malnutrition and of underweight children. We now have preliminary agreement on a proposal to have Boston based graduate students in public health team with medical students from UNAN.
Sister City Board and Medical Committee members Drs. Peter Moyer and Kea van der Ziel will be leading a team of graduate students in public health to Quezalguaque in May.
There have been 3 confirmed cases of Zika in Quezalguaque and there is a widespread educational campaign underway. We attended an educational forum being offered to pregnant women. Approx. 50 women were in attendance and it happened to be in the library that the Sister City Project helped build and continues to support. We thought the presentation and the general education plans struck a delicate balance between taking precautions where possible but not adding to already mounting concerns about the virus. (If you’re interested in learning more about the presentation, please advise).
Dengue and chikungunya are spread by the same aedes aegypti mosquito as Zika. Year-to-date there have been 12 cases of dengue and 6 of chikungunya in Quezalguaque. Larvicide and fumigation campaigns have been launched along with educational programs to try to reduce risk and they have asked for financial support for the initiative. With present resources, they are only conducting intensive outreach in areas with confirmed cases; they would like to proactively outreach to other parts of the community similar to a 2015 campaign that we helped support and that was designed to combat an outbreak of chikungunya.
Every February the Friends of the Brookline Public Library donate the proceeds from the book sales in all 3 libraries to the library in Brookline Sister City in Quezalquaque, Nicaragua. This year the proceeds are $3,400. Since 2009, the Friends have donated $16,619 to our Sister City Library. These funds help to purchases books, magazines, CDs and other material for the library and also support the mobile library in the rural areas of the municipality.
A special way to say thank you to the Friends of the Brookline Library would be to become a member. For $10/year you can support their many efforts for enhanced library services in Brookline and Quezalguaque. http://www.brooklinelibrary.org/get/friends