Naturopathic doctor Linda Brown was at a recent Peel Poverty Action Group (PPAG) meeting to share stories about her trip to Nicaragua.
The Mississauga resident was in Ometepe, an island in Lake Nicaragua, with 13 naturopathic students from the United States, three naturopathic doctors, a medical doctor from Italy, two non-medical workers and local drivers and translators. They were spreading the philosophies of naturopathic doctors and other natural healers, through Natural Doctors International (NDI).
Brown, who described the trip as an eye-opening experience, shared with PPAG members stories of the tough life people in Nicaragua face.
“The local people are poor farmers without the necessities of toilet paper and running water that we expect in North America,” she said. “Labourers are paid the equivalent of $2.50 a day, which must feed a family of six or more, and pay for other non-essentials and luxuries, like soap and toothpaste. Rarely is anything left to pay for medicines, which are largely unavailable anyway. Private hospitals are for the rich, and transportation costs to free hospitals can be prohibitive."
Brown and the other doctors raised $19,000 to pay for medicines and to stock a dispensary for free distribution to patients.
During the day, they worked at NDI's free clinic and within a week had treated some 200 patients with various ailments including skin infections, parasites, urinary and respiratory infections, and back and joint pain.