As part of the “Conversations with the Faculty” program of Haverford’s Customs Week, Kaye Edwards will be talking with first-year students about the ProNica delegation. Here’s how she describes her session:
This conversation is rooted in my long-standing engagement with public health, community-based learning and social justice, and was catalyzed by a trip I took this June, accompanying six Haverford students on a 10-day delegation through northwestern Nicaragua. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere, with 16% of the population living on less than $1/day, with only 45% of the population having improved sanitation facilities, and with 35 children out of every 1000 live births dying before the age of 5 (www.who.int/gho/countries/nic.pdf). Although Nicaragua has been buffeted by hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, and economic exploitation, it is a country graced by natural beauty, rich culture, and resilient spirit. Our delegation, which was funded by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, initiated 8-10 week internships for the six Haverford students who stayed on to work with grassroots organizations in urban barrios and rural communities. ProNica, a Quaker organization founded in 1987 to build “sustainable cross-cultural relationships between the people of North America and Nicaragua” (www.pronica.org/about/) led our delegation and coordinated the internship placements and home stays with Nicaraguan families. During our discussion, we will consider how United States foreign policy has impacted the people of Nicaragua, examine demographic data and health indicators to highlight the country’s current challenges and opportunities, as well as explore ways that Haverford students can work in solidarity with Nicaraguans to build healthier and more sustainable communities.