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Bermuda store employee helps poor in Nicaragua

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What started out as a once-in-a-lifetime mission trip for accounts manager Ian Nash, has turned into an annual goal to give back to the less fortunate.

Mr Nash, an employee at A.F.Smith's, said his life changed after visiting poor rural areas in Nicaragua to help with medical and dental clinics.

Before the trip, the 32-year-old recalled changing the channel when TV programmes asking for a donation of $1 a day came on.

But he recently told

The Royal Gazette: “I don't think I can turn the channel any more and I promise this is something I am continuing to do on a regular basis, every year as best as I can.”

Mr Nash travelled to Matagalpa, Nicaragua to take part in construction and community projects with Corner of Love Ministries from February 18 to 26.

With the help of 35 others, aged nine to 65-years-old, from the United States, he managed to help nearly 2,500 people get access to necessary medical care.

The team largely consisted of doctors and dentists from True Servants Medical and Dental Brigade. They helped diagnose and treat people with ailments, from arthritis and coughs to parasites.

Each person on the mission trip had their own role.

Mr Nash, who admitted to working 12 to 14 hour days, was responsible for keeping track of supplies used at each village they visited.

This data would be used for subsequent visits, he said, adding: “They want to know the town and when they revisit the town in a year they want to see that they are doing some good in each area.

“What they have noticed is the towns they have visited regularly they noticed a very large improvement in people's health.”

In addition to medicines, he said they also gave out toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap and a small toy for those children who lined up for the clinic's services.

Near Matagalpa, children rarely complete elementary school and most people survive on less than $1 a day.

The Canadian national said people in the area could wait up to 12 hours in line-ups, with their child in their arms, just to see a doctor.

He said they also had limited access to clean drinking water and poor sanitation habits, such as methods for dealing with trash.

Mr Nash said it was “heart-breaking” to watch how some people lived and said the “overall lesson” he learnt was not to take things he has for granted.

“We should definitely appreciate what we have right now because things could be a lot worse, an awful lot worse.

“We all go out for lunches during the week, when we get sick we go to the doctor and we complain about the smallest of things. These people were happy, no one was miserable.

“And I have this picture of this little boy that has his very first toothbrush and he is four or five-years-old.”

Mr Nash continued: “That was my overall take on it. I appreciate everything that I have a little bit more. I have always appreciated what I have been given, but I didn't have an appreciation for the way other people have lived.”

Mr Nash has thanked the Bermuda public and corporate community for providing him with donations to take on his trip.

American Airlines allowed him to take four large Rubbermaid containers loaded with medical supplies to the region.

Others including Medical House and St. Patrick's Parish Church, Validus Re, Ren Re, AAC Saatchi & Saatchi, Outback, The Beach Bistro, BGA Wholesalers, A.F. Smith Trading, Mariner RFC and Bermuda Ball Hockey Association helped out.

In addition Bermuda Athletic Association donated 11 soccer balls, which he said went to several grateful village children: “They thought a soccer ball was just gold and it was to them.”


Useful website:

Accounts manager Ian Nash is pictured here with some children in a village in Nicaragua. Mr Nash, 32, said taking part in the medical mission was a life-changing experience and hopes to take part in similar volunteer trips every year.
Doctors and dentists took part in a medical mission with Corner of Love Ministries in Nicaragua. They provided 2,500 people in poverty-striken areas with basic care during their week-long trip.
A small child gets his first toothbrush, thanks to volunteers who travelled to Nicaragua to help provide medical and dental care to needy villagers.
More than 150 people lined up outside one clinic to get medical and dental care in Nicaragua.

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Published March 08, 2011 at 8:54 am (Updated March 08, 2011 at 8:54 am)

Bermuda store employee helps poor in Nicaragua

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