Notes from the Field 3

 Here’s some correspondence from Dan Fenyvesi, M.S., R.D. who has been implementing the nutrition survey in the communities near Esteli, as part of establishing some baseline data to measure the impact of the greenhouses.  His notes document the joys and frustrations of putting together a survey with limited resources and challenging logistics, as well as personal views on nutrition.
NIcaraguan kids

NIcaraguan kids

We are back in San Juan. We did 12 famalies in Los Pinares, it was really interesting. Much poorer, much less dietary variety, much less obesity, overweight. Seems like quite a few families use a liter of oil a week and 5lbs of sugar, that is just an informal estimate for now but its amazing. The level of education is so low sometimes it was hard just to get the whole idea of the survey across and get answers, some people either were confused by the whole thing or thought it was very funny. Anyways it got done. Very few veggies. No dairy (not a big issue if you have a more varied diet in general but with them it is indicator of poverty and a very limited variety – you can see the HDDS scores taking a dive. Very nice people.

I feel ok but the travel and housing is starting to wear some of our people down. We had some quite rough rides (even by Nica standards); jam packed swerving buses and some sleepness nights. I have two students with some degree of sickness (though they are still mentally enthusiastic) and Rosario is also sick or wiped out, I don’t know for sure. Anyways she did step up to the plate on interviews, she trailed me the 2 days and did lots with me & then starting taking the lead with me standing over her, she did well. Given her performance I think The questionnaire is well set up for non science types to collect data. I am not sure if she gets blood pressure yet or the body fat machine, she was studying up a bit but I will go over those with her more in the coming days.
For the last few days I gave folks an option – either get up at 430 and catch the 5am bus to Barrio Nuevo and spend one night there, returning to San Juan or possibly even estelli late sunday OR sleep in and catch the mid-day bus to Barrio Nuevo and spend 2 nights there. Not sure which they are picking yet but either way we will get 13 to make 50 famalies total.

For post data collection, since our original survey is now actually quite an ambitious work and we are going with the public health industry standard software I am going to pay Kenia something to supervise it, Kenia and I will meet next week and go over the data some and think more about the details of how to enter it and what we want out of it etc… My plan is for Kenia to do the statistics (she she knows the software and I don’t) and I will fill in with my perspective. (She and the students will do the data entry.) The students are planning on entering this in a science competition, I am excited for them, and for sure they will make a thesis out of this.