On February 15th, we were pleased to receive visitors from several international chapters of the Rotary Club - The Tulsa Oklahoma Rotary Club, the USA & Metropolitano Leon Rotary Club, in coordination with the Managua-Tiscapa Rotary Club, Nicaragua - who came together to donate a much-needed water well for the newly constructed community clinic, the Robert Clemente III Clinic, down the road from Gran Pacifica. This well was one of 9 wells completed last year by the Rotary Clubs. The event was organized by the current President of the Tiscapa-Managua Rotary Club, and Gran Pacifica Resort Project Director, Ruth Vado Escobar, and ECI Vice President of Operations, Valeria Espinoza. The ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted by Sandra Zapata, President of the Club Metropolitano-Leon, along with 32 others, and a clinic tour was given by Dr. Andrea Martinez of Help Them Help Themselves and Holly Wilson, Corporate Social Responsibility Volunteer for Gran Pacifica.
A special certificate was given to honor Dr. Julio Cuadra Rodriguez, by the past Governor of District 4240 and Membership Chair of the Managua -Tiscapa Rotary Club, Dra. Rosa Marina Zelaya, and Managua - Tiscapa Rotary Club member, Dr. Jorge Samper, and Ruth Vado Escobar.
Dr. Rodriguez was honored for his work with Hurricane Mitch in 1988, and with the homeless population of Nicaragua, as he coordinated many projects to better the lives of Nicaraguans affected by storm and crisis. He was born in Masaya, Nicaragua, and is a member of the Tulsa, OK Rotary Club, living in the United States. David Peterson, Project Director of the Tulsa, OK Rotary Club, has been coming to Nicaragua for 12 years and his whole family has been involved in community projects. Three generations have made resolutions together to save money to get a well here. His granddaughter, Allison, even brought over 100 stuffed animals with her to hand out to kids in the hospitals. After the ceremony at the clinic, the whole group was treated to lunch at the SeaSalt Restaurante at Gran Pacifica, and enjoyed the beautiful beach views, jokes, fellowship, and food.
The land for the clinic was donated by Gran Pacifica and is located directly outside the gates of the main property. The funds for the building were raised between Gran Pacifica, Rotary Club of Pittsburgh, and Help Them Help Themselves. The opening of this clinic and recent community involvement has had a big impact on the area as the closest clinic is 30 minutes away in a neighboring community. The first Roberto Clemente Clinic opened almost ten years ago thanks to the involvement and sponsorship of the Pittsburgh Rotary Club and various local clubs - this third clinic was just opened June 2017. “Roberto Clemente” was the name chosen for the clinics because he is an honored figure in Nicaragua. Roberto Clemente was a Puerto Rican professional baseball right fielder who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for almost 20 years. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. Roberto is highly regarded for his charity efforts in the Caribbean and Latin America. Unfortunately, he passed away in a plane crash on one of his trips to provide much needed aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, but his mission and memory continues to be honored.
Currently the clinic is being used as a base for different mission trips. The most recent mission trip we hosted was a group of dentists who provided teeth cleanings and check-ups for the people of the community. Previously at this event, we have hosted wheelchair distributions, medical check-ups and more. At the moment there’s no permanent equipment inside, but we are working to make it a fully functioning, permanent clinic to serve the local community members and Gran Pacifica tenants and visitors. Gran Pacifica also holds land next door that is reserved for a future fire and police department so every necessary service will be in one vicinity. Angela Smetana, an employee of Gran Pacifica, also puts together volunteer tourism trips in the area. The next volunteer event is scheduled for June.