Matagalpa and Gainesville have been linked since 1986, when Gainesville native Kitty Madden led a delegation and subsequently moved to Matagalpa in the midst of the Contra War and embargo. The Sister City relationship was established in 1987. Kitty co-founded the The Casa Materna clinic was founded shortly thereafter in 1990 and established the Friends of the Casa Materna non-profit in 2000. In her words:
Still functioning and flourishing today is the Casa Materna “Mary Ann Jackman” clinic and obstetric center that to date has helped over 17,000 poor rural women deliver healthy babies. Mary Ann Jackman was a Nicaraguan who played a major role in our program getting started — she took our first group that I led around Matagalpa. She was later killed in an auto accident. You can see their website at http://www.casamaterna.org.
We are not the only ones who helped with this, but we were the major player in its early years. We also located a water filtration and pump system among Gainesville city “left-overs” that provided potable water to Matagalpa for some time. Jape Taylor who was on the first group visit induced several medical students to go there and work for various periods and we sent many bundles of medical supplies to the Casa.
The Official Resolution
Exchanges & Delegations
Many visits and delegations accompanied Gainesville Mayors and others from Gainesville to Matagalpa. Many of these delegations were of a humanitarian nature, bringing medical supplies, water purification equipment, gargage trucks, election observation assistance, volunteer work, and hurricane relief over a period of thirty years.
Since 2017, the program has been dormant due to ongoing political tensions in Nicaragua.
Support for Casa Materna programs
Emergency Response to Hurricane Mitch (Food, medicine ,seeds, and roofing materials for 122 families in Matagalpa City and Posoltega)
Midwife volunteers to support Casa Materna Work
Election Observation Delegation
Garbage Truck for Matagalpa City
Water Purification Equipment
Medical Supplies for Regional Hospitals
Initial Delegation to Matagalpa
“We were grateful to have welcomed close to 17,800 mothers in our 27 years of service. Of those mothers there were 2 maternal deaths. We are deeply grateful for the support of our Sister city and a very active Circle of Support through all those years.”Kitty Madden, co-founder of Casa Materna
“We were off to the largest high school in Matagalpa, scheduled to see mostly students and teachers from the school. We set up our clinic very similar to the one in Muy Muy, but with less volunteers. … We were scheduled to see the people from the Lutheran church in Matagalpa that Pastor Morales had arranged. … My first picture of the day was of a nine-year-old boy who needed a very strong prescription. After finally finding a pair that worked for him, I was relieved and happy. Then I looked up and saw his brother and father sitting next to him with their sheets, showing their prescriptions were just as bad! Later on, we also saw the mother of the family whose eyes were also poor. Unfortunately the entire family was plagued with poor vision, but we were able to provide glasses to all of them.”VOSH Mission Trip 2005, full story at https://voshsoutheast.org/mission-reports/nicaragua/2005-matagalpa-nicaragua/