Teen Pregnancies in Nicaragua

A young patient gets her pregnancy checked on at the free clinic.           Photo By: Elisha Colip


By: Elisha Colip

Being in my early 20s, I feel nowhere prepared to take care of children or to start a family. In Nicaragua there are a lot of young girls who are getting pregnant, having kids and possibly having multiple kids during the age frame of 13 and up. I have personally seen multiple girls that are younger than me with kids already and no job. In Nicaragua, a country where birth control is free for everyone with or without insurance, it is also the country in Central America that has the highest rate of teen pregnancies according to Dr.Quezada, a doctor at the free clinic in San Francisco de Nindri, Nicaragua set up by nursing students from Texas State.

Nicaragua schools also teach sex education to inform teens about the dangers of having unprotected sex. Speaking to Dr. Quezada, I was informed that rape happens a lot here so that has some to do with the pregnancy rate. On top of that, there are a lot more girls getting married in their teens to start families early on in life. In Colorado they made birth control free and the teen pregnancy rate dropped a 40 percent  according to an article on New York Times. So why isn’t this the case In Nicaragua? Culture has a lot to do with why it might not be so effective in Nicaragua. It is a lot more socially acceptable for teens to get pregnant in Nicaragua than in the states because of the way their culture functions, they don’t shame a teen for getting pregnant, they just accept that it happens. Of course there are a million other reasons like transportation or lack of education about birth control. Dr.Quezada says teen pregnancy is something they are  continually working on and campaigning about to lower the rate of teen pregnancy.


Greetings from Nicaragua!

I had no idea what I was coming into when I signed up for this study abroad trip, but I’ve loved every second of it. The end of the first week is rapidly approaching and I’m so thankful for every experience I’ve had.

We’ve been going out to visit communities and it’s so humbling to be interacting with the Nicaraguan people. The first day going to the community the nursing students were taking a health census. We walked on a dirt road for about 10 minutes before we reached the first house. This came completely unexpected, and it was surprising for me to think about the fact that the people have to walk there everyday. The interactions with the people were very humbling. Most of the people would offer us all of their chairs or whatever they had for us to sit down and be comfortable. The adults were friendly and the kids seemed happy to have visitors.

Seeing the living conditions here has made many of us realize how fortunate we are to have everything we do. Simple things that we take for granted, like hot water to shower, seem like a luxury. I’ve felt the team atmosphere change from the day we arrived until now. I think all of us have learned to look at the bright side of our situation instead of focusing on things that lack.

I’ve been forcing myself to get out of my comfort zone and I think it’s going well so far. I’m looking forward to sharing all of the great stories that the team is gathering here. In this way, we are making our small difference in the world.


Dream Job Come True In Nicaragua

What Are We Doing Anyways?                            

When I applied to study abroad in Nicaragua, I did not have a clear outline of what to expect. As I was accepted into the program and our day of departure drew closer, my perceived itinerary was still as vague as the day I applied.

We had been told a few basics about pairing up with nursing students and holding clinics in different communities but not much more. This is what initially piqued my interest and continued to do so until we arrived.

We have only been here five days and I already realize that I could not have asked for a more-fitting first study abroad experience.

Aside from loving all the nursing school students and professors, the experience I am gaining every day through assisting Nicas in different communities is giving me the chance to live my dream job.

How many people get to say they’ve already worked their dream job by the age of 23? My bet is the number isn’t high.

Help Yourself By Helping Others

I hope to start my own nonprofit organization one day that will focus on traveling to countries in need to provide healthcare and/or manual labor for people who don’t have the means to do so themselves.

Many people in our culture live in excess daily and I find it important to find ways to give back to others.

Working with International Service Learning (ISL) will give me insight to the success of organizations that are working to accomplish what I hope to achieve. It’s great perspective to get to see first-hand how a company very similar to my dream is already running.

In the first five days that we have been here, I have met gracious Nicas brought to tears by gratitude and I have felt more at home than I sometimes do in America. People who live a life serving others tend to lead a happier life than people who are material focused. I decided on my trip to Costa Rica, that closely resembles this trip, that is the kind of life I want to live and I want to find happiness by serving the needs of people around me.

Texas State nursing students provide critical care in Nicaragua


Most students at Texas State University fill their winter break with much-needed rest. Some spend their time on the couch with stomachs full of ham, turkey or whatever mom can whip up. Others decompress and let the worry of exams, essays and pop quizzes melt from their minds.

But rest, no matter how desperately needed, is the last thing on the minds of 28 nursing students  who arrived in Nicaragua on Monday.
These students will spend the next two weeks fanning out across some of the poorest communities in the country to provide free healthcare to families, many of whom have not received care in more than a year. In a country where diseases including malaria, typhoid and chikungunya are common, that can be a real problem.

Beth Biggan, assistant clinical professor for St. David’s School of Nursing, launched the program five years ago. Now, when she arrives in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital city, she is greeted with smiles and long, tight hugs from those she has worked with.

Jairo Rivas, International Service Learning team leader, said the program targets areas where many do not have access to medicine, and where conditions like headaches, stomach aches and urinary tract infections often go untreated.

“We pick really poor communities,” he said.

In previous trips, Biggan said that students have given medication, stitches and shots to hundreds of patients, and one even delivered a baby.

Nursing seniors Caitlin Ortiz and Alex Orzech said that based upon the conditions they saw on an hour-long bus ride through the area, they think they will see a variety of illnesses.

“It is very rural, tropical and hot,” Ortiz said, adding that those conditions can be hotbeds for mosquito-borne illnesses.
Orzech said many families in the area live in homes with dirt floors, open windows and have farm animals living inside with them.

“Driving through made me sad,” she said. “There were a lot of children walking around without shoes on.”

While they won’t be providing shoes, Massiel Acetuno, ISL assistant team leader, said the knowledge and medicine the students bring with them means far more to local “Nicas” than they realize.
“For them, you are angels sent from God,” she said. “It means the world to them.”

Texas State University’s Global News Team to visit Nicaragua

Texas State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication lecturer Holly Wise and graduate assistant Mark Wilson are leading the school’s first deployment of its study abroad Global News Team to Managua, Nicaragua on Monday, Jan. 4.

This team is made up of six students who are studying journalism, electronic media and public relations. Their objective is to produce multimedia coverage of Texas State University’s St. David’s School of Nursing students administering healthcare in Managua and area communities. They are the first journalists to be hosted by International Service Learning – the nonprofit that organizes teams of volunteers to serve in Nicaragua.

Follow their work on Twitter and Facebook.


An immersive study abroad program in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication