A group of Selkirk College nursing students hosted a fundraiser Friday evening at St. Rita’s Catholic Church. The event turned out to be so popular, that people had to be turned away at the door as all seating spaces for the meal were occupied.
The Kootenay Doukhobor Men’s Choir performed several songs to the enjoyment of the crowd before the dinner of beans and rice, corn bread and coleslaw was served by the nursing students. The evening also included a silent auction and multiple raffles. Over $4600 was raised.
The group of ten third year nursing students will be travelling to Guatemala to participate in an international nursing practice experience. They will be partnering with local grassroots community organizations to promote health related issues and education, working in community health settings. One aspect they plan to focus on this year is diabetes prevention and education.
Those partners include the Association of Women in Solidarity, a group that works with women labourers from factories; the Mayan People’s Clinic of La Esmeralda, a group of volunteers who provide essential health services; the Cooperative of Nuevo Horizonte, a cooperative of ex-combatants who are working to build a more equitable and just society and the Association for the Integral Development of San Miguel Ixtahaucan, an organization that has been at the forefront of coordinated community resistance to Canadian mining interests.
Selkirk College nursing instructor MaryAnn Morris hopes to encourage their partners and communicate the message to them that, “They are not alone, they are not isolated, their stories are heard and are reverberating with power in countries such as ours.”
Guatemala is a country that is still recovering from a long civil war that ended in 1996. Much of the population lives in poverty and infant mortality and literacy rates are among the worst in the hemisphere.
Madison Samarodin has had her heart set on joining the annual Guatemala trip since she first joined the nursing program. “I have always wanted to be a travelling nurse, so it was a program that really spoke to me,” she said. “Being with the kids and the community down there really is a beautiful thing, I am Doukhobor and I believe in bridging communities.”
If you would still like to donate to the Guatemala trip, you can send a cheque to Selkirk College, clearly marked for the Guatemala trip.