Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative and Women’s Center

This clinic in Mulukuku is staffed by Dorothy Granada, a volunteer American nurse who has dedicated herself to running this clinic and helping the women’s co-op of the village, which started the clinic in 1990.  It serves many surrounding villages and there are about 200 clinical encounters each day, mostly obstetrical, gynecologic and pediatric. Many people get turned away daily.  Popular promoters – local women health educators try to teach basic sanitation and health care issues.  Medicine needs are great. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in this hemisphere.

From Books To Brilliance

St. Anthony’s and From Books to Brilliance teamed up to bring over 900 books to fill the depleted shelves of several small libraries in Nicaragua. We believe that our small and initial effort can turn into something great, serving an ever-growing population well into the future:

In 2007 St. Anthony’s partnered with educator Kim Covill and her new organization From Books to Brilliance to support them while they applied for their own nonprofit status. Kim Covill was a patient of Dr. Teresa Balcomb who insists that Dr. Balcomb gave her a subliminal message to start this project while she was under anesthesia for hand surgery! Well,maybe so, but Ms. Covill and her group certainly deserve kudos for their wonderful new service organization. Below are excerpts from a letter she sent to us: “With the creation of a second village library in central Nicaragua, the addition of several hundred books to Mulukuku’s Biblioteca Samuel Vidaurre, and the approval of our 501c3 status from the Internal Revenue Service, From Books to Brilliance has much to report. We are now a legally recognized public charity! This is indeed a significant step toward our mission to bring books to people who do not have access to a local library or a book to read. We wish to thank St. Anthony’s Alliance for their unconditional support and encouragement in this endeavor, and for serving as our fiscal sponsor for the last two years. The citizens of Mulukuku are unmistakably energized and optimistic about the reopening and growth of their library. In June of 2007 From Books to Brilliance purchased over 900 books for beginning and intermediate readers at multiple locations in the capital city of Managua, and this summer purchased several hundred more. We found that the library, closed for nearly twenty years, had been relocated to a larger and more inviting space. A handwritten sign boasts its daily hours of operation, overseen by two very capable and energetic volunteers from the community. We…are thrilled with the incredible progress witnessed at the Samuel Vidaurre library. The community’s children are eagerly visiting to read “stories”, and teachers are bringing in their students to introduce them to the proper care of books and the joy of expanding their knowledge. The shelves are organized and the books are accessible to all. Records of daily activity clearly demonstrate the town’s enthusiasm for this revitalized facility, and the librarians excitedly informed us of their ambitious plans for its immediate future……Central Nicaraguans have been creating a future for themselves since the ravages of war in the 1980’s took men from their households, and women were left to raise children alone. With tremendous courage and determination the people of these villages have pulled themselves from that dark and chaotic past into a vibrant present with exploding enthusiasm…They envision a time when their children are literate and well educated. Libraries with books for all will help to promote that dream.”