Thursday, July 29, 2010

Graceland nursing students

I shared in a 2-hour class with the Graceland Nursing Students today.  What an awesome group!  They are planning a 5K run to benefit HealthEd Connect.  For just $100 you can sponsor the walk, have your name on the back of the official walk t-shirt, and support the SON-- all while benefitting the kids in Africa!  For more information, shoot me an email

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Board meeting

The HealthEd Connect board met via teleconference today.  What an awesome group!  Suggestions and connections were provided at break-neck speed.  More great ideas to followup on!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pictures! Have we got pictures...

Jac took terrific photos in Cartagena!  He finished photoshopping them last night and plans to load them today.  Good shots of the health classes as well as the barrios and surrounding countryside.  Be sure to check them out ...go to our website and click on "media" at the top of the page.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Leaving Cartagena

We are reluctantly preparing to leave beautiful Cartagena.  What a warm, friendly, colorful city.  Last night when we were visiting the women for the last time, Rosa proudly said she had fixed a dinner that had red, green, and white food.  Our nutrition lesson had concentrated on 3 food groups with a heavy emphasis on eating by color.  The deeper the color the better.  The more colors in a meal the better.  One of the biggest surprises was the relative cost of the food.  Beans and fish are considered very expensive while chicken and beef are more affordable. We learned a lot from each other!  Brandon and Andrew (World Service Corps volunteers) are our follow-up team and will help process the experience with the women to see where they want to go from here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mal de Ojo

The children in Cartagena are absolutely adorable!  When women in the barrios were asked to identify threats to their children's health, they named respiratory problems, diarrhea, worms, etc..  When I asked if mal de ojo (the evil eye) was a health belief in their communities there was lots of shy smiles and giggles.  The explanation they gave me was that older women still might believe in it or if a baby is especially homely, they will teasingly say it suffers from mal de ojo.  One older lady went from this subject to that of worms.  As she described one case she knew of, the number of worms involved kept growing.  One of the women fially exclaimed "Madre de Dios!" and everyone laughed.  Mal de Ojo may not be a significant problem here but it is still a belief that is shared in many countries.  There are a wide variety of beliefs around this concept but basically the belief is that someone (not necessarily evil or bad) admires a child causing serious illness.  Some believe the result is severe diarrhea resulting in death.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dreaming in Spanish

The beautiful Spanish language is now permeating my dreams. If it would only come out of my mouth when I'm awake it would be helpful!!

Great day today with the 8 women and 3 men. We had a lesson on nutrition and they really got into it. After teaching 3 food groups (Estructura, Energia, Protectiva), I scattered pictures of foods on the floor and told them it was the Mercado. Each one went shopping in turn for food they would typically fix for their family. The group then critiqued their choices and had lots of fun doing so. Good energy in the group.

We will communicate via email after I leave and see if the enthusiasm for starting a program continues. If so, we'll start working on a return date.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beautiful Cartagena

It has been claimed that Cartagena is the most beautiful city in the world. Now we know why! This is truly a lovely place.

We've had a busy couple of days in the barrios working with the women. We've had lively classes with lots of discussion and good participation with 11 women. The primary focus of our discussions to date has centered around diarrhea and dehydration...obviously an ongoing problem. The next area of interest is nutrition so we'll be delving into that tomorrow. Sandy did a great job of teaching today! Tomorrow we'll provide pictures of food items and help the women identify three basic food groups: Body Building (Grow foods), Energy (Go foods), and Protective (Glow Foods). This is always a fun session!

At this point we're still introducing the women to the vision and possibilities inherent in CHW programs. It will then be up to the women as to whether or not they want to have additional training and work within a formalized volunteer program. It will be interesting to see how this unwinds.

Monday, July 12, 2010


We're spending the night in Miami before taking off for Cartagena, Colombia tomorrow. It has been touch and go all evening as to whether Brandon (one of the WSC volunteers) would make it. Flight connection problems. Last phone call we received indicated he had made it to Atlanta and it looked like he would make his connection to Miami. Acting on faith, Jac is now on the way to the airport to meet his 12:30 a.m. flight. Hopefully he will connect with Brandon. We'll meet Andrew (the other WSC volunteer) at the airport tomorrow. Our good friend Sandy left on Friday and should already be there. If all goes well we'll all be together tomorrow night.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Great weekend in Florida on the first stop of Colombia trip. Lots of opportunities to share with friends and spread the good word about HealthEd Connect.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I spent over 3 hours today working on our new DonorPerfect software system. I finally pushed the button to send an email to over 200 HealthEd Connect supporters and then sat back to bask in triumph and satisfaction. Curious as to how the email looked when it arrived, I went to my own inbox to view the results. No email. Knowing sometimes these things take awhile, I didn't panic. But the minutes ticked by and finally the hours and at last I had to admit my attempt had failed. I am big time frustrated!! Now I'll have to wait until I get back from Colombia to try again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First successful grant

We received our first grant gift today! The J.E. Dunn Construction Company notified us they will be sending a check to help with the construction of the Chipulukusu school. Yeah! We've got a start!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I had all the best intentions of keeping everyone constantly updated while in Africa. Alas, it was not to be. We had precious little email access the entire trip. The electricity was sporadic at best and entirely off for several days. When it did come back up, the internet wouldn't work. When the internet was up, it was so slow it took 20 minutes just to get connected. All that aside, it was a terrific trip!! I'll have a trip report posted on our website soon. Keep checking "Recent Happenings" in the bottom right-hand corner.