The new year is now a few weeks old. Three Kings Day (on 6 January) was a good time to clean up the Christmas decorations, and enjoy more peace and quiet around the house again. December had been quite ‘full on’: at least twice a week people in our circle shared with us special gifts, for example: a lunch, food, cleaning products, a cake, second-hand clothing. It was heartwarming because it is a sign that our mission –‘raising awareness with regard to people with restrictions`- is bearing fruit. More and more people now know about our work.
The Ministry of Health has never published reliable statistics on the number of COVID-related infections and deaths. So it is not a surprise that Government figures differ considerably from those issued by independent observers. In August and September last year there was an incredibly high number of Delta variant COVID deaths in Nicaragua. As the government did not call for preventive measures, people simply did what seemed appropriate to them. At our Community Home we stayed at home more and only invited individual guests, no groups. Only one of our employees became ill with COVID-19 during that period. We have not yet been affected by the new Omicron variant. Our internal measures seem to bear fruit, as our core members are generally in good health. We deal with the COVID restrictions by looking for alternatives to make everyday life as pleasant as possible for them. We aim for what the Romans said long time ago: a healthy mind in a healthy body!
For a year now the government has been buying vaccines from Russia, and has been given many vaccines from various countries. Although getting vaccinated is not mandatory, most people want to be vaccinated. Last year the Ministry of Health started with vaccination campaigns at health posts in various cities. As vaccines were in short supply, people were already queuing up the afternoon before vaccination day so as not to miss out. Thousands of people also crossed the border into Honduras to be vaccinated with an international vaccine, which is being used sparingly in Nicaragua. (Some of these ‘vaccine migrants’ may have been among at least 100,000 Nicaraguans who left Nicaragua in 2021 due to the political and economic malaise in the country, in an attempt to enter the US illegally via Mexico; a hazardous journey indeed!) At the end of last year, vaccinations became available at all health posts and medical staff now also go into neighborhoods to also offer to vaccinate people at their homes. The government now appears to be indirectly promoting vaccine take-up. I heard from someone who needed a health certificate, including a proof of vaccination, issued by the Ministry of Health, which she had to present at her new job. At Ruach we do not have a policy of obligatory vaccination of staff and residents, but most of our core members have been vaccinated at the request of their relatives.
Travel remains complicated for the time being. Traditionally, at this time of the year my son Jonathan and I used to visit my daughter Daniella in Ecuador, but, like last year, we have again decided against this international travel. So we are going to go to the beach again for a week for a break. It is a reasonable alternative!