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Coffee sales spur better health

Nicaragua, September 11, 2006

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Sarah McLaughlin/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Babies and young mothers were the majority of those examined and treated at the Yali mobile clinic. Photo: Sarah McLaughlin/Mercy Corps

Yali, Nicaragua — The going rate to see a doctor or buy a month's supply of prescription medicine in this poor Central American nation is about $25. That's beyond the means of most families here in Yali, a small community nestled among verdant fields of coffee plants in northern Nicaragua. And it's why so many have lined up outside the local school today.

Inside, Mercy Corps' local partner, Asociacion Aldea Global Jinotega, had set up a mobile health clinic staffed by two doctors, a nurse, two pharmacists and several volunteers. Over the next eight hours, 250 community members went through. They consulted with a doctor, got vaccination shots, and received various medicines and vitamins. The total cost: $1. Those unable to afford payment were still accepted.

Since September 2004, Aldea Global has run 11 mobile health clinics benefiting more than 1,120 Jinotega residents.

You can help support these health clinics by purchasing Café Aldea coffee. Specialty roaster Coffee Bean International (CBI) donates $2 from the sale of every pound of Café Aldea to Asociacion Aldea Global Jinotega to use for social programs. Mercy Corps collaborates with Aldea Global to sell Jinotega's small farmers gourmet coffee, and to improve the quality of life of their families. Each 200 pounds of coffee contributes $400, enough to run a one-day mobile health clinic.

Café Aldea is available from online retailers, including The Coffee Planet, which is offering 10 percent off bags of Café Aldea during the month of May.

The coffee itself is an award-winning blend that's recently achieved the coveted Fair Trade certification from the Fair Trade Labeling Organization, which means that more proceeds reach the hard-working families of Jinotega.