By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~
A bus carrying eight Xavier students, Xavier staff and Nicaraguan citizens was involved in a crash at 6 a.m. on March 12 near Rama, Nicaragua. The accident occurred while students were travelling from Managua to the Atlantic Coast region of Nicaragua. The cause of the accident has not been released.
According to Lea Minniti, executive director of the Center for International Education (CIE), students received medical support from hospitals in Rama and Juigalpa, Nicaragua. The hospitals treated one student’s minor neck injury and trip assistant Kenia Castro Castillo’s broken arm. An international health insurance plan covered the students’ medical expenses.
Some students received follow-up care both at the hospitals and in the barrio, or neighborhood, where they live and are still physically and mentally recovering from the accident. No severe injuries were sustained by students.
Both the CIE and Xavier faculty in Nicaragua are coordinating to assist those involved in the accident.
“Initially, CIE staff and Dr. Irene Hodgson, faculty leader of the program in Nicaragua, worked to ensure that the students’ physical injuries were treated and notified the families,” Minniti said in an email.
“There has been continued assistance since the accident, supporting the physical recovery and also helping student process the experience. Irene utilized in-country program connections to allow for an almost immediate response and support for the group, both in the rural area where the accident occurred and in Managua,” Minniti said.
Hodgson was in Managua at the time of the crash.
Aside from coordinating physical care, Hodgson also assisted students with processing the event. Students met twice following the accident to discuss the event as a group, and Hodgson, along with CIE staff via phone, met individually with each student to see how he or she was recovering.
A psychologist at the Universidad Centroamericana and Fr. Joe Mulligan, S.J., an American Jesuit living in Managua, met with each student to assist with recovery. McGrath Health and Wellness Center reached out to students as well, offering counseling services via Skype or phone.
While Castro Castillo recovers from her injuries, Study Abroad Assistant Shannon O’Neill is staying with the students to assist Hodgson. She arrived in Nicaragua on March 23.
Students have started attending Spanish classes following the accident, and they are expected to return to their service sites this week.
For more information, contact the CIE’s office at 745-2864.