November 6, 2013

Mission of Hope readies shipment for Nicaragua


PLATTSBURGH — North Country Mission of Hope needs some medical equipment checked out before it is sent to Nicaragua to help patients there.

The equipment has been donated by local medical offices and hospitals, according to Mission of Hope Executive Director Sister Debbie Blow.

She’s seeking technicians willing to volunteer their expertise to make sure it is in good shape before sending it to the Central American country.

“It could save someone’s life,” she said.

Or some of the health-care-related items can just make treatment more comfortable.

Hospital beds and exam tables are among recent donations, Blow said.


On Tuesday, Nov. 12, Mission of Hope will be loading a shipping container with a substantial amount of medical equipment and other goods that will head out that day for Nicaragua.

Volunteers are needed to fill it, starting at 9 a.m. The Plattsburgh-based humanitarian-aid organization is still accepting donations to cover the $10,000 shipping cost.

That’s a lot of money, Blow said, but the trade-off is worth it.

“The estimated value of one of our recent containers was $250,000.”


Reports of a recent dengue-fever outbreak in Nicaragua emphasize the need to improve medical care, Blow said.

“It’s the worst it’s been in a very long time,” she said. “The hospitals are filled; the deaths from dengue have risen.”

The tropical disease, spread by mosquitoes, is particularly prevalent in the Managua and Chinandega regions of the country, where Mission of Hope’s work is centered.

“They can only treat the symptoms,” Blow said, and can’t stop the spread of it “until they kill the mosquitoes that carry dengue.”


The next contingent of more than 50 volunteers has been chosen for the annual February mission, Blow said.

Coming up is the Nov. 11 deadline for annual student sponsorships. The cost is $140 per year for tuition, school uniform and shoes; schoolbooks are $50. For $75, a child can be fed for a year.

The recent Walk of Faith and pulled-pork dinner in Peru raised enough money to build one and perhaps two home shelters for Nicaraguan families, Blow said.

It costs $650 to construct a sturdy, three-sided shelter to replace a shack of scrap materials such as plastic and and tin.

Blow noted some particular needs at present include wide packing tape, one-subject notebooks and other school supplies.

The group always accepts donations of children’s and adult vitamins, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals and adult protective underwear, such as Depends.


Blow ticks off those needs almost without thinking, for they are ever present. As quick to surface is her gratitude to the North Country and beyond for the continuing support that allows Mission of Hope to help the poorest of the poor.

She is thankful, too, for her recent clean bill of health, as tests following removal of a malignant breast lesion showed she was cancer-free and required no further treatment. 

“So onward I go with hope,” she wrote in her Weekly News and Notes to mission supporters.

Email Suzanne



North Country Mission of Hope is trying to reconnect with all past volunteers. Email Sister Debbie Blow at

Medical-equipment technicians can contact Dr. Roger Patnode at 569-0896 or

To sign up to help load the Mission of Hope container on Nov. 12, email Patnode, Blow or Jimmy Dumont at

Donations by check can be mailed to Mission of Hope, P.O. Box 2522, Plattsburgh NY 12901. Learn more about Mission of Hope at