We hope this message finds you and your families well. For those on the front lines treating COVID-19 or providing other essential services, we thank you. For those who have fallen ill, or with family who are sick, we offer our support and wishes for a quick recovery. LIN is a tight-knit network and if you need anything, even if it is just someone to talk to, know that we are always here for our friends—just as you have always been there for us. Your support throughout the years has allowed LIN to be in a position to thrive even during such uncertain times.

Our work continues on CKDnt. Data collection scheduled for the end of March through June started with layers of extra precautions and was ultimately suspended to protect our staff and the participants in our study. We will now transition to a period of analysis, reflection, and preparation for when we can continue fieldwork on CKDnt once COVID-19 is a memory.

Part of that reflection has resulted in the recognition that, like CKDnT, COVID-19 reveals the shortcomings in our health, economic, and political systems. A symptom perhaps of a wider disease driven by misplaced values and confused thoughts on what is required for a successful society. While this pandemic indiscriminately affects all populations regardless of class or nationality, it will disproportionately harm the most vulnerable and disenfranchised. In Washington DC, the most affected wards are low-income, predominantly African American neighborhoods. In Guayaquil, Ecuador, people are dying in the streets of both COVID-19 and hunger.

After thinking deeply about this, La Isla Network has begun an action plan to support the communities we work with during this time with a team that includes several international and local partners in Nicaragua.

The situation in Nicaragua is dire. Therefore, we have put together an education and dissemination plan to provide accurate information to the communities we work with. This plan comprises of three main steps:

So much of this has been made possible by an amazing group coming together in Nicaragua and throughout the Nicaraguan diaspora. Church, business, Development sector, countryside, city, and university leaders all coming together with focus, professionalism and efficacy. It has been a heartening experience to be part of. We want to thank each of them, and we look forward to a day soon when we can all meet in person.

Fortunately, LIN has the ability now to dedicate some of our resources to COVID-19, but all of these efforts will require coordination, fresh ideas, and support. If you would like to donate, please do, we will put it to work. Equally important, if you think you can be of help to ensure that proper and useful information is disseminated, and the right questions are asked to communities about confronting COVID-19, please do not hesitate to contact us. We have further ideas being developed that include helping the sugar mills produce and distribute sanitizer, and creating employment for the production of medical personal protective equipment and masks for the general public. Your thoughts and support in such efforts are welcomed. The mill has also provided direct aid to families and distributed 70% of the alcohol to households, hospitals, and others, and we applaud that effort.

When this is all over, we hope we can all remember what it was like to be worried about our health, and the health of our loved ones in the face of an epidemic. Remembering then that, as leaders, citizens, and supporters, we bring empathy towards addressing the other epidemic, the epidemic of CKDnt that will remain until we confront it with the urgency and resources that it deserves.

Until then, let us do all we can to get through this pandemic, and help those that are not getting support so they are informed on what they can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Stay safe, healthy, and in good spirits,

The LIN Team