Moms & Girls Still Communicating in the Unknown
The over 25 mothers and daughters who are part of our magical shoes project are now in lock down in their homes to protect themselves from the corona virus. This time in July seems to be a big spike in the virus in Nicaragua. How do we know that? not from any government statistics because they are officially ignoring the virus. Mothers who live in front of the street to the cemetery report about seven funerals daily passing their homes, and knowing street vendors who have died as there is no help for people who make their living on the street. We have to rely on reports like these because even the traditional death notices that have been a part of the Nicaraguan culture have been banned. So that we will think that there is no problem. Our mothers with their special daughters have taught us a lot about how we should do lock down. They have formed a special communication system and often send food and supplies to one another in ways that create community even in the midst of corona virus. We are blessed by these women with magical shoes who have learned through much suffering how to keep in touch.
As of March 25 we decided to go on lock down to protect our health and those around us, a very hard decision but necessary for an organization who works with people who are vulnerable and at the greatest risk of this virus.
The decision was made by the foundation to close as Nicaragua started having cases of Covid19. We could not envision doing anything else. This was not mandated by the government, schools have stayed open, nothing has been shut by government health concerns. At this time in early july the government of Nicaragua has mostly ignored the pandemic and have not order any social distancing or self-protection for their citizens. The country leads in the percentage of deaths:cases ratio in Central America. This is a sad reality that we have to live with and come through alive. Our projected return is now scheduled for August, with hopes that we can feel secure to bring all workers back without infecting one another. Since there is no testing in our country we don’t want to just start up again. It is very hard without any support or acceptance. Everything is an unknown for us but we continue to follow social media from Central American countries and the World Health organization. That is all we have.
We also set up WhatsApp groups to keep in touch with workers and those families who have access to social media. Because the reality is that many do not have access to social media.
The Magical shoes project main goal is to strengthen the relationships of mothers and daughters with special needs. These times have been trying but we see that the program has had an effect as the mothers being in lockdown with their daughters have had to use the skills that we had all been working on before the virus, especially communication and acceptance. As we share basic food baskets with the families once a month we are finding out how they are coping and looking for new ways to work with them when we do go back to “normal”. We are working on hygiene problems and lack of resources to benefit them. Some have been making masks in their homes to be able to help others.
When we closed temporarily the program we told our workers “you are being paid to stay at home and take care of your health and protect yourself and others.” three months into the lock down we have several of our workers who have gotten the virus and are struggling to recuperate because it is not recognized here and there is no special treatment developed or put into practice.
We also recognized that people were not getting the right nutrition and most social programs were shut down many permanently so we have taken it on ourselves to begin to provide monthly food packages. Staff are active in getting out each month more than 200 packages of basic grains to people we work with in the neighborhoods of Matagalpa, including the workers.
We use the delivery of these food packages to educate as we go in trucks with our workers in protective gear not getting out of the trucks but letting each individual enter into the double cabin and receive a small talk, and a mask, about the virus. Then they have a chance to share with us about their experience in this difficult time, and what is happening to their dreams and hopes for the future. We are trying to motivate people to stay in their homes to avoid the virus. This is not our usual style of direct work with the families but because public transportation is so crowded and the food shortage is so great we decided to do it in this manner to help our families when they are getting no other help. We posted a you tube link of an inspirational video that we did about corona virus for our organization, on our you tube channel. We are a program to provide opportunities and motivate mothers and people with a disability to get out of their homes and be involved in their community but we do not want them to help spread the disease unknowingly.
Families Especial wants to thank everyone for their support of our Magical Shoes project and work with mothers and their girls with disABILITIES. We are not going away we would prefer to be working actively to involve people with a handicap in safe ways. We are already working on plans on how we will reopen in a healthy safe way, but it is not easy. We have all changed in many ways but there is less security in our society now and we are learning from our mothers and special needs girls that we can make it through this time together. We are relying on them in many ways to give us information and guidance.
We are aware that all over the world countries are at different stages in this virus, this dangerous unknown threat and we continue to keep everyone in the world in our prayers. A small prayer from children: “Dear God be good to me the sea is so wide and my boat is so small.” Let’s all share our boats to be safe, and remember to include mothers with daughters with disABILITY who really are the most vulnerable to this disease and are often forgotten but who want to continue to share their love and concern for others.
Taking Care in Time of Virus
Walking in the Unknown