The pandemic has changed life for all of us – in the United States and in Central America. One of the chief challenges for CoCoDA has been how to continue to meet our mission of connecting North Americans and Central Americans. We had to cancel all delegations during 2020 and 2021.
With the Delta variant hitting Central America this month, we cancelled the delegations planned for January and February of 2022. These challenges have forced us to be creative in continuing to fulfill our mission of connecting cross-culturally.
Beginning in the fall of 2020, CoCoDA opened a Speakers Bureau with the intent of connecting powerful voices in Central America with U.S. college, universities, churches and organizations. The goal was to maintain connections while raising much needed funds for CoCoDA. In 2020-21, we held many such events, including…
- West Valley Church in Arizona hosted an interview with a Salvadoran telling his story of crossing the US border.
- DePauw University in Indiana held a symposium on Women’s Empowerment in Central America with two Central American advocates telling of their challenges and successes.
- Guilford College in North Carolina hosted an event focused on refugees with stories from El Salvador of returning from the UN refugee camps in the late 1980s.
- Indiana University asked our Executive Director to give a series of lectures on ethical international engagement to medical students.
- Goshen College in Indiana had our Central American staff present on building capacity and sustainability in community development.
- We hosted two medical exchanges with MedStar Hospital in Baltimore and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
These are just a few of the many interesting interactions CoCoDA was able to sustain during the pandemic, allowing Central Americans and North Americans to continue interacting and learning from each other.
If you would like to host such an engagement in 2021-22, check out our list of potential subjects and contact us.
Another way CoCoDA has been connecting North and Central Americans is through our virtual continuing education forums.
These events connect North and Central American physicians, nurses. midwives and healthcare workers. This past year, we held two forums on the pandemic.
The first focused on diagnosis and treatment and the second looked at differing vaccines and their protocols. We also hosted a training on reading EKGs.
Finally, this month, we connected Central American midwives with an emergency maternity specialist to focus on how to respond to high-risk pregnancies.
In each of these events, both North and Central Americans learned from each other. One of the few benefits of the pandemic has been a growing realization that – regardless of our country and culture – we face many of the same challenges.
We live in a small world where a tiny virus can quickly move from country to country. Hopefully, the unity and empathy necessary to fight the virus will be equally contagious.
If you want to download the Speakers Bureau Promotional Piece, click here.