I am studying for a Masters in International Health and needed more experience in the field, so I came to La Isla Foundation through random coincidence.

I actually disliked the kidneys since my first year in med school and avoided to study in-depth their anatomy, physiology etc. What a mistake! It all came back to me while I was here; the people here are so nice and welcoming, but nearly all are sick of CKDnT or have a sick family member! The basic needs to lead a healthy life are not met on any level – be it housing, water and sanitation, nutrition, education – any social determinant of health, you name it!

What could I do here? I taught some kids and adults about hygiene, gave talks to women who want to open a beauty salon about the importance of hygiene and nutrition and supported the team in general with specific medical knowledge.

In the community we were welcomed with open arms. We heard the story from Tanja, 18, who was left by the father of her unborn, because he went to Guatemala to earn more money in the cane fields. And about Suleima, her sister, who is helping her already sick husband in the fields, because they need the money. Hopefully they both find work in the beauty salon!

The more you learn about Nicaragua and CKDnT, the more frustrating it is. But that feeling is also a source of energy. I want to help making this problem known to the world and especially to the medical community. I don’t want to see big companies interests over people’s lives as it is happening right now – that’s why I am dedicating my time now to this issue and will go on working for the cause from home! I started admiring the kidneys and their wonderful work they do for us every day!

– Katja Goebbels, MD, 30 yrs