Our Work

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Nicaragua is the poorest county in Central America and El Crucero is one of Nicaragua’s poorest villages. The following statistics demonstrate the day-to-day conditions of most El Crucero families:

  • 75 percent live on less than $2.00 per day
  • Unemployment rate: 8.5 percent
  • Population below poverty line: 45 percent
  • One-third of children suffer from malnutrition
  • Average total years of education for Nicaraguans: 4.6 years
  • 60 percent of 12-17 year olds are not in school
  • 56 percent of 12-17 year olds have not completed 6th grade

Social services throughout Nicaragua are limited as the government cannot take on the fiscal impact. Still today, remnants of the country’s turbulent political past are still visible. Buildings that line the town’s central square are still covered in ads from the 1970s graffitied on their exterior. Pot-hole filled roads are lined with food stands as exiting the capital city of Managua towards the remote, rural village of El Crucero.

In El Crucero, the unmet needs of the local people are a glaring reality. Necessities like food, shelter, clean water and medical care are in short supply. By the time most children reach 6th grade, they are forced to leave school to help provide for their family, particularly the young men.

More than 60 percent of Nicaraguans live on less than two dollars a day. The average shanty in El Crucero is made of a dirt floor and scrap material. Despite extreme poverty, the people of El Crucero are proud and grateful for what they do have. Their faith and spirituality are strong amongst their challenges. Family and relationships take highest priority.

Project El Crucero is improving the health conditions for the people of El Crucero through the provision of essential medical and dental care while striving for a future where these necessities are met and become self-sustaining:


Susie Syke Clinic


The Susie Syke Clinic provides life-saving medical and dental care to the people of El Crucero, Nicaragua. The clinic is open to men, women and children and serves El Crucero, and the neighboring villages.

Due to extreme poverty and challenging day-to-day living conditions, common health conditions treated include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Respiratory issues
  • Pre-and-post natal health
  • Dental extractions
  • Dental cleaning
  • Dental fillings

Both medical and dental care is provided at no-charge on a weekly basis.

  • Medical treatments to date: 15,360
  • Dental treatments to date: 3,420
  • Hot Meals Served to Children: 16,465
  • Food Baskets Delivered: 465

Mobile Clinics:
Recognizing that many people do not have the means to access the clinic due to sickness or lack of transportation, Project El Crucero recently started to serve those in need via mobile clinics. Mobile clinics are stocked with medications and supplies necessary to care for basic medical treatments and are facilitated my volunteer medical professionals from the United States. Patients in need of additional medical care are referred to the Susie Syke Clinic or to the government hospital for further treatment.

Meet Our Doctors

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Dr.Luis Ocampo is Project El Crucero’s general practice physician and clinic administrator. He is a dedicated staff member who cares deeply about the community. While Dr. Luis primarily sees patients at the clinic, he also goes out into the community to make house calls and to treat patients. Dr. Luis is committed to providing both health and spiritual well being for the patients in El Crucero.

Dr. Karla Villanueva is Project El Crucero’s dentist. She is a dedicated member of the staff and goes above and beyond every month for our El Crucero patients. On average, she treats over 500 patients a year. Dr. Hidalgo has worked at the Susie Syke Clinic for over a year. She travels to El Crucero to provide treatment for the village.

Marcela Garcia is Project El Crucero’s dental assistant. Marcela has given 6 years of service to our ministry. Marcela has been trained by Dr. Hidalgo and has impacted our ability to provide dental care to hundreds of patients in El Crucero. Marcela lives in El Crucero and is highly committed to all aspects of our ministry.

Irelma Castaned Molina is Project El Crucero’s licensed pharmacist. Irelma has been part of the ministry staff for four years and is highly committed to the patients she serves. Irelma lives in El Crucero and wants to make a difference for the people of her community through the Project El Crucero ministry.

Dr. Oliver Morales is a clinic volunteer who helps provide medical and spiritual guidance to the Project El Crucero ministry. Dr. Oliver served as our general practice physician and administrator for 2 years before moving to Guatemala City to be with his son and wife who is completing pediatric oncology training. Dr. Oliver is passionate about caring for the people of Nicaragua and continues to have impact on our ministry.

Feeding Program

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Project El Crucero’s feeding program for village youth serves approximately 4,200 hot meals each year. Meals are served to 80 children per week. Children participate in religious fellowships, which includes taking part in Bible study, prayer and song, in addition to receiving a hot meal.

Village Impact


While life-saving medical and dental care is the foundation for Project El Crucero’ s work, additional projects and programs that the Project El Crucero team has developed also contribute to the overall happiness of village youth and adults. Examples include:

  • Soccer camps and leagues
  • Playgrounds
  • Arts and crafts camps
  • Bible camps