Part of Magical Shoes is to help the mothers and daughters face problems together. The program has worked on trust, support, and understanding each other's ways to face situations. Unfortunately, Familias Especiales is experiencing a dangerous new wave of COVID, which has affected the Magic Shoes Program. As a result, the mothers and their daughters are staying at home. But how are they coping? Promoters are keeping contact with them by cell phone and special programs, but not all have phones. The Promoters, masked and protected, took food packages directly into the neighborhoods to check on the families in the different programs, including Magical Shoes. They discovered several houses with COVID. They have reported the cases to the health department who sometimes sends nurses into homes to help. Most do not go to the hospital for emergency care because the hospitals are full. There is no formal testing for COVID through the hospital. Staying at home is not easy as their houses are tiny, sometimes only one-room zinc houses, where everyone shares the same latrine outside. The rainy season has started in Matagalpa, but this is not always a welcome sign for people. Their houses get flooded with whatever rainfalls, and this does not help as people deal with COVID. Staying at home becomes more difficult for their children as they want to go out, but the rains and the COVID restrictions stop them. So far in Nicaragua, only people older than 60 years have received the vaccination, plus health workers, police, and military. There were enough vaccinations for the second shot. Still, the median age in Nicaragua is 26.5, and the population over 60 is only 4% of the people. Only a tenth of the elderly population got their shots so far. Because there is no sound record keeping, it is hard to gauge how people are being affected. One looks for some hidden funeral expresses in the evening and other signs that there are COVID problems. However, in the neighborhoods where the mothers live, there is no outward sign that people have COVID. Still, if you visit, they will say someone in this house has COVID, and it is better that you don't come inside. In these houses, if one person has COVID soon, everyone else has it too. We are keeping tabs on everyone the best that we can to help them out in some way notifying the health department with hopes that they will come to visit. We will continue sending food baskets monthly. There are many factors that Special Families have to think through for reopening direct service to the children and young people with disabilities. They will do that also from the information that promoters, who are well protected, will share. We are hopeful that things will get better. There is no communication about what people are receiving to change the situation with so few vaccinations. Mothers are with their daughters in their homes and find ways to keep active and share with us if they have a phone. The best we can do is to let them know that they are not alone.
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