Dorothy Granada

Centro de Mujeres María Luisa Ortiz
Apartado 6537
Managua, Nicaragua
011-505-268-6194 (telephone/fax

Number 36 — November, 2005

Dear Friends,

Warmest greetings to each of you. Much has happened since I last wrote to you.  “A DREAM DEFERRED” – I am reminded of Langston Hughes’ poem when I think of present day Nicaragua. Langston Hughes asked the question “where do the dreams go?” What has happened to the dreams and accomplishments of the Sandinista Revolution? Health care for all, previously landless peasants with their own land, education through graduate schools based on merit, not family income, enough food for all, communities and neighborhoods working together for safety, cleanliness and creating beauty. A time when it was easy to be good. I wish Peter Maurin could have lived to see Nicaragua of the 1980’s – he was working for a “world where it is easy to be good.” Today, Nicaragua has a President with almost no powers and who is accused of misappropriating campaign funds. The Sandinista Party is making deals with former president Arnoldo Alemán (convicted of embezzlement), in order to hold on to a few gains of the Revolution, causing good people to leave the Sandinista Party to form new groups, thus splintering the Left. Former U.S. Ambassador, Oliver Garza, has returned on a special mission: to unify the political right so the Sandinistas will not be able to gain the presidential election in 2006. Sandinista National Assembly members are the only ones holding back approval of DR-CAFTA, struggling to gain a few protections for Nicaraguan farmers and the environment. The devastating effects of NAFTA (the Free Trade Agreement of 1994 between the U.S. and Mexico) on Mexican farmers is well documented and is responsible for the ruin of millions of Mexican farmers, driving growing numbers of the desperately poor across the border without papers. Deaths in the deserts between Mexico and the southwest U.S. are growing to epidemic proportions.
Health Promoter Esperanza Gonzalez learning newborn resuscitation.

FUND-RAISING TOUR APRIL AND MAY   This tour was the best and most exciting in recent years both in numbers of people attending presentations as well as donations received - a total of $64,054 covering a third of the clinic’s annual budget. Old friends and new hosted me from Seattle to Las Vegas, Galveston and Western Maine. Especially exciting were new groups in San Diego and Auburn, California. If I try to list all the wonderful hosts, I’m sure to leave someone out – so thank you to everyone. The most significant phenomenon is an awakening and renewed activism as more U.S. citizens are outraged by the direction the government has taken in war and threats of wars as well as the erosion of civil liberties. Everyone I spoke with agreed that this is a critical moment for U.S. civil society to organize and act if the country is to reclaim rationality and find the road to justice with peace.

DELEGATIONS – March - Dr. Greg Houston, from the University of Missouri Dental School, for the 7th year, brought faculty and students relieving dental pain and infection in dozens of people. In May, a group of young people from AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD SERVICE (AJWS) worked very hard under the punishing sun building terraces in the Medicinal Plant Garden. June – For the 11th year, Dr. Janice Smith brought a Medical/Dental/Student Delegation from Galveston, Texas.

COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS – 28 men and women meet every six weeks with the staff of ATENCION PRIMARIA DE SALUD led by Dr. Saul Contreras of DOCTORS FOR GLOBAL HEALTH to continue increasing their knowledge of Primary Health Care in their communities.

Nicaragua’s tuberculosis program has suffered from a reduction of funds to the public health sector of the Ministry of Health. The Potts Foundation has awarded us a grant to identify persons with pulmonary tuberculosis and get them into treatment throughout the municipality. Our effort is coordinated with the Ministry of Health. Dr. Caridad Duarte and Health Promoter, Norma Valdez, are building on the important study done by MD/MPH students of the Medical School, University of Arizona, Mary Foote and Rajni Gunnala.

MORE and MORE GOOD NEWS – We are renovating a small house near the clinic which will house the VENTA SOCIAL DE MEDICAMENTOS – a low cost, not for profit pharmacy where most people we serve as well as patients from the Government Health Post will be able to afford prescribed medicines. It is estimated that 10 – 15% of our patients will have absolutely no money for purchases and these we will subsidize with a special fund. This wonderful opportunity is made possible by a consortium of not-for-profit clinics to which our clinic has been accepted for membership.

Dr. Connie Adler, Nurse Gloria Montenegro, and Health Promoter Esperanza Gonzalez learning newborn resuscitation.

A little piece of the Dream is alive in Mulukuku. VISITORS – January - Doctors Janice Smith, Connie Adler and Mike Rowland visited. Mike installed an emergency lighting system for the Birthing/Treatment Room utilizing solar panels. Connie taught a course in Neo-natal Resuscitation and improved colposcopy and ultrasound skills of the staff. The physicians helped clinic staff evaluate needs and plan for the future. Lillian Jackman, from Massachusetts, nurse/gardener, taught acupressure to Health Promoters and shared knowledge with our agronomist, Doralisa Cordero, to improve the Medicinal Plant Garden. February - Susan Studebaker, Nurse Practitioner, completed work on a masters level Nutrition Study which will help us to respond to nutritional needs.


Prenatal Care
103 91
Family planning

Dental/ extractions

Dental treatment w/flouride




STAFF – Nurse, Gloria Montenegro, after working sometimes 12 hour days during the week and delivering babies at night with our doctor, Caridad Duarte, travels to Boaco for classes every Saturday and Sunday to add to her skills and obtain an R.N. degree. Gloria’s education is being funded by a group of nurses at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine. (Thanks to the impetus of Dr.Connie Adler!). Natali Montoya, Naturopath, is completing a degree in Clinical Psychology thanks to a grant from the Appleton Foundation and an anonymous donor. Natali also travels for classes in Matagalpa every weekend. Added to the staff is nurse Jacqueline Sandoval helping with pre-natal and family planning patients. Jacqueline is also improving her skills in the same R.N. program as Gloria.


Medical Public Health Students from University of Arizona and our staff identifying persons with tuberculosis.

GOOD NEWS – Through the efforts of Dr. Janice Smith and a generous donor, we will receive funds to build a CASA MATERNA, (where high risk pregnant women may await a safe birth) and a new BIRTHING ROOM. This is fantastic since the maternal death rate in the area is very high as are newborn deaths. More women will give birth with trained personnel and lives will surely be saved.

 MORE GOOD NEWS – Through an agreement with the Swedish Family Medicine Residencies at Providence and First
Hill in Seattle, and with promise of expanding to include all Family Medicine Residencies in the University of Washington Medicine network, the clinic will eventually receive a third year resident every month. The physicians will spend 3 weeks of their time in the clinic and the last week in the communities working with Community Health Workers and the Tuberculosis Program.

   Friends, our work is completely dependant on your good will. The women, children and men whom we serve are as your mothers, wives, fathers and children. We are joined together in one human community. When a tree is planted in Mulukuku it is planted for the planet. When a species is saved from extinction, it is saved for all of us.

All strength to you in your efforts to make this a kinder, healthier, greener world.

Abrazos from your friends in Mulukuku,

Eleventh Annual End-of-Year Appeal, 2005

2005 marks an anniversary for Dorothy. Fifteen years ago, she was invited by the Maria Luisa Ortiz Women’s Cooperative, in Mulukuku, Nicaragua, to establish a women’s health clinic. Since then, because of the clinic, and because of the incredible support from you and others, countless women have survived to raise their children.

These women found new health and dignity, learned about nutrition and natural medications, received pre- and post-natal care as well as support against domestic violence. Malnourished children have been fed, teens have learned about their physical and social development, and abused women and girls have been sheltered, among many other services. The women’s cooperative, in the larger context of ongoing violence and increasing poverty, has been a bedrock of community and service.

Over and over, readers of this newsletter, and other friends, have responded to the needs of the people in Mulukuku. During the nineties, as she became aware that Mulukuku patients had abnormally high rates of cervical cancer, Dorothy detailed the connection between cervical cancer, certain virus infections, poverty, and the lack of gynecological services for women in the area. People responded financially and the clinic launched a comprehensive screening program. With early detection and immediate treatment the clinic has erected a roadblock against cervical cancer.
Midgene Spatz, Evelyn Gordon, Anne Welsh, JoAnn Bingham and (right-hand side of page & above) Winnie Des Jardins, "our chef of the day," April 9, 2005, Christ Church, Episcopal, Las Vegas, Nevada

The clinic also saw domestic violence impacting its patients. Dorothy spoke to us through this newsletter about the context of the violence and the family tragedies she witnessed. She shared the clinic’s vision to create a campaign to teach women about alternatives to violence and to provide a safe place to any woman who needed it. Generous people in North America and Europe responded. The clinic now has a model program to help women survive domestic violence, including a shelter.
The patient load at the clinic has increased. Some people travel two days, by foot, horseback, or dugout canoe, to the clinic, even ill or pregnant. The ever-growing patient load strains the limits of what can be accomplished by a small clinic staff, working on a small budget, serving an area of more than 30,000 ppeople. The clinic staff has always worked to build other health resources in the area, encouraging other communities to organize education and health care… and again, financial supporters have responded to these challenges. The clinic is now training health promoters– one from each of the outlying communities that form the municipality of Mulukuku – to provide first tier primary health care in this vast area.
The clinic staff and the women’s cooperative continue to be thankful for the steady financial and moral support from their “friends in the North.” Dorothy keeps writing her clear vision about the clinic, and reaches out to ask our help. All of us who have met her through the newsletter and her visits to the U.S. know the strength of her dedication.
As Dorothy, in her early 70’s, walks rapidly from her home, to work at the clinic one morning, she says to us, “Retire? I never intend to retire. I’d rather die working.”
Thank you for supporting the amazing work in Mulukuku. We invite you to help this work continue.
Best wishes from the many volunteers at the Women's Empowerment Network.

Please send your tax deductible
donations (Tax ID 77-0566997), payable to:

Women's Empowerment Network
309 Cedar St., #547
Santa Cruz, CA 95060ople.

Solar Power for the Clinic?

A Dream Coming True

Imagine operating a medical clinic, with electricity only certain hours/day, and unreliable at that. You have to crank up a diesel generator to fill in the gaps, and it's slow to start, making emergencies more challenging. Plus diesel availability may plummet in the near future.
Dorothy has talked about the need for an independent source of electric power for years, and now it's on the horizon.
Joseph Marino, president of DC Power in Healdsburg, CA, is volunteering to launch the solar power project, and is providing half of the $50,000 estimate for the system!! He and Philip Beard, a newly retired professor and long-time clinic supporter, have pledged to raise half the remaining cost, leaving us only $12,500 to raise for a reliable, top-flight system for the clinic (with excess power for some community uses).
Joseph and Philip will go to Mulukuku later this year, to study the site, consult with Dorothy and others, explore how the community can be involved in construction, and build ties with other Nicaragua solar projects.
All of us (Joseph, Philip, and WEN) agree that support for the clinic work remains the top priority. But if you can give beyond your existing support, please imagine steady electricity for the clinic! Just write "solar" in the memo line of your check to WEN. Also, you may have friends and contacts who would be especially interested in this project; please give them a call. With your help, our part of the investment will pay for itself in four years or less! Imagine.

WEN Announcements

Tour Memories
Santa Cruz WEN thanks all the tour coordinators throughout California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Maine and Texas for making Dorothy feel so welcome! It was truly a pleasure working with each of you, and it’s wonderful to know a vast network of support exists for families in Mulukuku. Of special note: Ian Cates-Doglio, 6-3/4 years old, sent his own $3 donation to the clinic in Mulukuku after Dorothy stayed at his house in Olympia, WA.

Creative Donors
Margot Signer of Clinton, MO asked her family to acknowledge her birthday AND mother’s day with donations to the clinic. She photocopied the donation card and sent copies to everyone. David Belt of Parkville, MO donated an honorarium he earned performing a wedding, and one good soul honored his sister (who donates monthly) with a birthday donation. Sharing is rewarding, isn’t it?

In Memory of Gaza Bowen

By Julie Aguiar

Gaza Bowen, internationally known artist, shoemaker, shoe historian, lecturer, instructor, and martial artist died in May of this year. She was 61.
Gaza Bowen and her husband Dennis Wheeler lived across the street from Dorothy Granada and myself in the 1980’s. We shared the relaxed good times that occur when neighbors become friends, and then family. Gaza, Dennis, Dorothy and others formed the Santa Cruz Guatemala Committee in 1987.
Gaza was a loving woman who cared deeply about the world and injustice. Her artwork explored the relationship between the personal and the political and her experience of growing up Jewish in the 40’s and 50’s in the South. Using unconventional materials and impeccable craftsmanship, she created shoe sculptures with a humorous, but biting social commentary.
She is perhaps best known for her "Shoes for the Little Woman" series; a group of shoe sculptures created chiefly from cleaning products for the home. Her art book, "The Red Shoe Reader," is a wryly-executed discourse on feminine sexual submission in relationship to the high-heeled shoe.
Since the beginning and throughout the years, Gaza has been loyal supporter of the clinic in Mulukuku. She requested that donations in her memory be sent to the clinic, and WEN has received many generous donations from Gaza’s friends and family.
We miss you Gaza.

Natural Medicine Program at the Clinic

by Natali Montoya Sequeira, Naturopath, Psychologist, Floral Therapist

In our natural medicine program we are working on an integrated focus as much as possible. We focus on the illness as a result of a disequilibrium between a person’s physical and emotional health. We consider that both physical and emotional states cannot be looked at as separate; they are intimately related and thus both have the same importance.
In a recent conversation at the hospitality house in Managua, Lucia Urbina Ojeda mentioned she has been a member of the Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative for more than 17 years. She is pictured here with her daughter, Yessenia.

We consider our history, at the regional, municipal, and community level, our culture, personal idiosyncrasies, and family origin as facts that influence the course of an illness. Also, we look at the development process in which each person may have had the predisposition to suffer the illness.

Inside of the natural medicine consultation, we use different alternative therapies depending on the particular case of each patient. In the majority of cases, we use medicinal plants, acupuncture, aromatherapy, acupressure, and massage. When we find cases in which the predominant factor is psychological, like psychological abuse, and the lingering effects of physical abuse and sexual violence, we give emotional support, accompaniment, and follow-up, including Bach Flower Remedies (for more information, see

Like naturopathy, this job for me is at the same time very comfortable and always a challenge, since working with natural medicine and alternative healing therapies is always a continuous learning process. At the same time, I consider that the attention to every case contributes to my personal development since one learns about every single person with whom we share time.
The most common illnesses treated with natural medicines
and alternative therapies are: Gastritis, migraines, arthritis, muscular tension, cough, flu, cystitis, stomach aches, colitis, preventing asthmatic crises, goiter, colic, parasites, diarrhea, allergies, fungi, PMS, poor blood circulation, abdominal pain, and extreme anxiety.

The most common emotional cases we attend are: Stress, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, depression, family violence, sexual violence, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress.

Translated from Spanish.