Almost TWO years passed….and then an Esperança volunteer surgical team arrived!

Let me take you to La Concordia, Nicaragua

a tiny village settled between lush green mountains of Southwestern Jinotega Department in Nicaragua.


                                                           Despite it’s size…it is RICH in history!

By the early nineteenth century a proud man with his family, many friends and all of their cattle, horses, and fruit trees, left the community of San Rafael del Norte to establish La Concordia. Still today men travel horseback into the colonial town square to conduct their business.  Over the last 100 years, many in this village have dedicated their lives to agriculture and the cultivation of crops like beans, onion and sugar cane. In the cooler mountainous areas of La Concordia, coffee plants grow wild.

Doña Celina who is 81-years-young has called La Concordia home for her entire life; it is where she met her husband and where they have raised their nine children.

Arabica coffee grows in Nicaragua and the harvest season is November through February


Two years ago, when Esperança met Doña Celina she told us she felt vulnerable and weak. She began to have problems with meals. After eating she had a lot of pain. Her stomach would swell and sometimes the pain was so severe she was unable to work.

Her family became very worried and suffered next to her watching her try to work through the pain. They worried about being able to pay for the treatment that their mother needed. And they were even worried that at her age she wouldn’t be able to receive treatment at all.

Earning more money by gathering more coffee to sell at the market seemed like the only way they could help their mother. Her children decided to take her to have an ultrasound which showed that Doña Celina was suffering with stones in her gallbladder.

Doctors explained that to relieve Doña Celina, she would need a cholecystectomy; an operation to remove her gallbladder.

Getting answers provided hope. However her children still had a lot of fear.

They were afraid that their mother would never be operated on because of age-related risks, and their fears were coming true. At the regional hospital Celina had surgery scheduled and, rescheduled.

Almost TWO years passed….. and Doña Celina never received surgery – her stomach pain continued….

Another surgery was scheduled, her children never gave up, finally Monday-operation day- came. Doña Celina traveled 50 kilometers with her daughters to San Rafael del Norte to the hospital for her operation but her surgery would not be performed. Again, the doctors said her age put her at too great a risk.


At the hospital that day was a nurse from Nazareth Clinic – where our Esperança volunteer surgeons from the U.S. were operating that very week.

It was a surgical mission led by Esperança Volunteer General Surgeon Fred Schneider – made possible by capacity building partnerships, skilled volunteers and generous giving from Esperança’s compassionate friends.

Eagerly, Doña Celina went to the clinic. There were a lot of patients when they arrived, over 40 patients were treated during this mission. The visiting doctors and nurses welcomed Doña Celina for an evaluation.


After Doña Celina was evaluated, the doctors wanted a risk assessment for her age. Doña Celina and her daughters were first discouraged because this assessment is expensive and they did not have the money to pay for it. But the doctors told them not to worry, they happily worked for free [little did she know that they even paid their travel expenses to get there]. Doña Celina was evaluated for the risks associated with her procedure and age… with HOPE and JOY, she was scheduled for surgery on Wednesday.

                                                     Doña Celina’s operation was successful!

She had an open cholecystectomy and recovered without complications. Before returning home to her beloved family in La Concordia, Doña Celina shared a message of gratitude with the volunteer surgeons who took away her pain and the worry from her family’s hearts.

She tells us that she is very grateful to Esperança’s volunteer surgical team, for the way they do things.

“Thank GOD you operated on this old woman, since no one wanted to operate on her. I wish you a good journey and many blessings, and that you continue to help more people who need you so much.”

Arabica coffee grows in Nicaragua and it's harvest season is from November to February
Doña Celina left the clinic after recovering, feeling hopeful and strong.

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