Balgue, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, January 19th, 2013

The worksites today are communities we have visited every year since the expansion of the HSVMA –RAVS program in Nicaragua to include Ometepe Island: Urbaite, and Balgue. In years past we have divided into two groups to serve these communities on the same day, but I have never really liked that, primarily because, due to weight and space limitations, and other logistical considerations, we only have with us one complete set of farriers’ tools, and one complete set of dental instruments. Also, it’s always been worrisome to be separated and out of communication (Balgue is beyond cell phone reception usually, and never did have land-line telephone service).

We therefore decided, this year, to work the sites sequentially as a complete team, and that turned out to be a fortunate decision, in that the turnout at Urbaite was much

smaller than in previous years due to the fact that another group from North America had been there offering similar services a few days earlier. With such a small case l

oad (about 30 patients), we were quickly done, and moved on to Balgue, further along the perimeter of the island, where we saw well over 100 animals (somewhat in excess of case load in past years).

This type of occurrence points up the utility of the fairly recently implemented Equitarian Initiative of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), one element of which is an effort to coordinate between various groups involved in this work, specifically to avoid duplication of their programs. The local people in Urbaite thought the other group might have been from Wisconsin, and in planning next year’s trip I will find out for certain in order to coordinate, and it may be that we will wind up not returning to Urbaite, and concentrating further on the more remote and difficult to reach communities on the far side of the island.

Even with the light morning at Urbaite, it was a busy and productive day today,

with nearly 150 animals seen, and none of us was reluctant to call it a night, get some sleep, and prepare to leave the pavement and the internet behind and head out to La Palma tomorrow………..

David Turoff, DVM


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