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¿A dónde vas? Where are you going?

September 28th, 2016

Written by: Theresa Bailey, Princeton in Latin America Fellow, Comunidad Connect 2015-2017

Lea en español.

Theresa, at Lake Nicaragua, in front of the beautiful Concepcion Volcano on Ometepe Island.

Theresa, at Lake Nicaragua, in front of the beautiful Concepcion Volcano on Ometepe Island.

¿A dónde vas, Esteli? ¡Hay nancite, hay naranja, hay limones! ¡Acércate a boutique 5 Estrellas hoy y aprovecha de la gran liquidación! These are just a few of the many phrases and sounds that fill the space around me here in Nicaragua. 

After living in this beautiful country for over a year I’ve learned an important fact: Nicaragua is loud. However, the most relevant skill that accompanies this fact is the ability to be still, slow down and listen to the quiet sounds that flit beneath the overpowering din. When I am still I hear the laughter of my co-workers as we work together on our daily tasks. When I am slow my host sister soothes my stress and builds me up with words I need to hear. When I listen I hear the sincerity and vulnerability that accompanies the ideas we hope will transform our communities.  

Working in the field of community development means accepting an inescapable vulnerability. My co-workers, our academic partners, the community members themselves, we are all architects, constructing new environments and structures that we hope will translate into better quality of life and increased opportunities throughout Nicaragua. And like architects, the results of our innovations will only be tangible years after the first thought dared to slip through our lips, uncertain of its reception.

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Leading Volunteers – Doricel’s Perspective

September 19th, 2016

Written by: Doricel Aguirre, Cultural Connections Volunteer Guide, Comunidad Connect

¡Lea en español aqui!

Doricel (left) and co-worker Nerys in Los Robles

Doricel (left) and co-worker Nerys in Los Robles

So far during 2016, I have guided 7 groups from Honduras Outreach International (HOI). That’s 99 volunteers who have come to share their experiences with the community of Los Robles, contribute to the social projects and promote religious values through bible studies with children, women and men. One of the most impactful experiences I have had was when we visited the home of Doña Guillermina to build a floor that was just 16 meters in area; her home was too small to build a larger floor.

 

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We Now Have Locations in 10 US Cities – well, kind of.

September 6th, 2016

Written by Roman Yavich, Comunidad Connect Co-Founder

You might very well know that Comunidad Connect works in Nicaragua, but do you know where our offices are in the US? In fact, there might be a CC location or board member in your city.

Here is a map of where Comunidad Connect staff and board members work in the US.

CC's Many Offices

If you live near a CC “office” drop by for a visit. If not, we’d love to hear from you to info@comunidaconnect.org or our at our mailing address: PO BOX 1687, Madison, AL 35758.
Because we love maps so much we also made a nifty map to show you where we work in Nicaragua, which you can see below.

Where We Work in Nicaragua

A partnership forged of steel!

August 20th, 2016

by Roman Yavich, Co-founder

Last weekend was awesome! Some of my best friends from college  (University of Colorado) helped Comunidad Connect raise over $5,000 through an annual fundraiser called Pro-Am Craft Beer Fundraiser held in Boulder, CO by his company Coalesce Design and Fabrication. Both co-owners of Coalesce BJ Titchenal and Greg Vanderbeek  have been to Nicaragua to volunteer, making their support even more special.

Attendees eating tacos.

Attendees and supporters Christine Schulz Hood and Stephanie Drennen enjoy veggie tacos from McDevitt Taco Supply.

The fundraiser drew more than 100 craft beer enthusiasts eager to try the new and classic flavors from some of Colorado’s best breweries: Avery, Boulder Beer, and Sanitas. The breweries graciously donated their delicious beers. McDevitt Taco Supply came through with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of donated vegetarian tacos to compliment a trailer-load (literally) of meat smoked to perfection in a smoker designed and built by Coalesce, which also donated the meat. (A smoker is not the only thing these guys can build. Check out their website for floating staircases.)

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News from the Clinic: A Note from Dr. Lia Amador

August 18th, 2016

Written by Dr. Lia Amador, Comunidad Connect Staff, August 2016

¡Leer en español!

Since I was a little girl I dreamed of becoming a doctor so that I could help people. I dreamt I would be a vital and important agent of change in the lives of people, not only addressing emergent health issues, but also helping individuals to accept their illness and making them aware of how they could better care for themselves – always providing quality care that improved the wellbeing of others.

Dr. Amador treating patients in Los robles

Dr. Amador treating patients in Los robles

Comunidad Connect works hard to improve the health of the populations in which it works, involving the individual and understanding how they fit within the larger picture of their family and community. Comunidad Connect works for the community and from the community, not just addressing curative health, but focusing on preventative work as well. Their work inspires me to formulate a vision for the future; I dream of a community that is integrated in the search for better lifestyles and greater quality of life. For example, we could adopt the World Health Organization’s model for strengthening families and improving communication between parents. We could work with adolescents to promote various topics, like sexual and reproductive health, life plans, empowerment and respect of women and their rights, independence, and the prevention of violence. Finally, we could work with men to promote new masculinities and engage elderly in clubs for senior citizens. The main challenge will be having patience as we wait for changes in behavior.

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Small Steps to a Big Difference

August 15th, 2016

Written by guest blogger: Gina Carroll, Ph.D. candidate, University of Calgary, Comunidad Connect volunteer, Summer 2016

Like everyone, I have always struggled to find my place in the world. To find the one thing that defines me…the thing that separates me from the endless masses of people who seemingly meld together in a sea of accomplishments I never quite seem to master. As a 27-year-old Ph.D. student, still living in her parent’s basement, I never thought that I had much to offer to anyone, let alone the world. How could I? I have barely any money, and the majority of my time is spent sitting at a poorly lit desk desperately trying to finish assignments before 3am. Like a lot of people my age, I felt utterly lost in who I was as a person, and couldn’t overcome the feeling that I had missed the opportunity to blossom into the person I should have been by now. This all changed in the summer of 2016 when I was lucky enough to work as a biological anthropologist with Comunidad Connect, an NGO working to enrich the health and welfare of Nicaraguans.

Gina Carroll Comunidad Connect BlogAs a biological anthropologist, my job is to use both the biological and behavioral aspects of humans, and their culture, to define and inform my research – in this case, why do so many young children in Nicaragua have iron deficiency, despite access to an assortment of iron-rich foods. The goal of my three-month trip to Los Robles, a small community in Northern Nicaragua, was to immerse myself within the community, and learn first-hand what factors might contribute to the epidemic of malnutrition within, and outside, of this small community. While I was fortunate enough to gain insight into what some of these factors might be, what I really learned from my neighbors in Los Robles was that it doesn’t take much to be a hero – to positively affect change in the world, and be someone worth having around. This revelation didn’t come crashing down on me, like a swell of wisdom sent forth from the divine, but rather, it occurred slowly and throughout the course of three months. While many incidents profoundly changed who I was as a person, and I hope who I will continue to develop into, one stands out the most.

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WANTED: Clothing, School Supplies, Gardening Tools

July 14th, 2016

¡Español abajo!

Do you live in San Juan del Sur? Do you want to give back to our community? Do you have extra clothes, gardening tools or school supplies lying around the house?

Comunidad Connect is currently accepting donations for our community health worker team in Northern Nicaragua and our community garden in Barrio Nuevo. If you or your friends and neighbors are moving, or doing some rainy season cleaning, we’d love to put your gently used clothes, school supplies and gardening tools to good use!

Clothing and school supplies will go to community health workers in Los Robles and San Esteban, two rural communities in Jinotega.

Message the Comunidad Connect facebook, or reach out to grace@comunidadconnect.org to make a donation!

Comunidad Connect Staff, Blog author, Roman Yavich, stands on the far left

Comunidad Connect Staff 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

¿Vives en San Juan del Sur? ¿Quieres contribuir a nuestra comunidad? ¿Tienes ropa, herramientas del jardín, o útiles escolares extra en su casa?

Comunidad Connect está aceptando donaciones para nuestros brigadistas de salud en Jinotega y para nuestro huerto comunitario en Barrio Nuevo. Si tu, tus amigos, o tus vecinos están mudando, o están limpiando la casa de cosas fuera de uso, nos encantaría utilizar tu ropa, útiles escolares, o herramientas de jardín para una buena causa.

Manda un mensaje al Facebook de Comunidad Connect, o escribe a grace@comunidadconnect.org para hacer la donación!

 

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Research Intern Needed!

June 20th, 2016

We are looking for a research intern to work directly with our Nicaragua Community Health Connection program! You will help to investigate diverse models for community development, identify cost-effective water filtration models, and compile a literature review that will support our future grant applications. Please send your resume, cover letter, and writing sample to Theresa Bailey at theresa@comunidadconnect.org.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting immediately. 

Read the complete job description here!

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Do you want to recycle in San Juan del Sur?

June 15th, 2016

20150807_125547Do you want to recycle in San Juan del Sur? Do you miss knowing that your plastic bottles will be sorted and reused? Are you sick of seeing so much trash around town?

You’re not alone.

As residents of San Juan, the staff of Comunidad Connect & Casa Oro want to get the word out about an easy way to make a big difference: sorting your plastics at home! We all see the trash truck come around, and we see that waste management employees put all the trash together in the back of the truck. You might not know that when plastics are separated from other waste before being loaded into the truck, they are sorted upon arrival at the dump, and sent to Managua to be recycled.

The employees do their best to look through all trash bags and sort out the plastics, but many, many plastics slip through the cracks and end up being burned with the rest of the trash if they aren’t pre-sorted at our homes and business.

So, what do you have to do to increase recycling in San Juan and reduce the amount of trash that’s being burned?

Sort your plastics! It’s easy. You don’t need a special bag, you just need a separate area in your home or business to keep plastics. When you take out your regular trash, put your plastics in a different bag (ideally something the employees will be able to see through, like a Pali bag or a white grocery bag) and take them out as well. That’s it!

Do you want to recycle AND participate in a community development project at the same time? Bring your plastic and glass bottles to Casa Oro, and they’ll be used at “Rancho Regeneración” Casa Oro’s sustainable farm project in El Carrizal – just outside of town!

If you have questions, send a message to info@comunidadconnect.org, or stop by Casa Oro! And don’t forget to join us this Sunday for a trash pick up and BBQ hosted by Surf Ranch Hotel and Resort – meet at Casa Oro at 9:45am for free transport!

 

 

Los Patos Fly South: Service Learning in Los Robles

June 7th, 2016

Written by Sarah Heppler, University of Oregon student, Pictures by Diana Avila. 

On March 19th, 2016, 16 University of Oregon students boarded an 11:55pm flight to begin the journey to Los Robles, Nicaragua, for a Holden Center Alternative Break project with Comunidad Connect’s Cultural Connections program. We left our home of the Pacific Northwest to expand our global knowledge and dive into a week of service learning.

The communities of Los Robles and San Esteban opened their homes to us so that, with the leadership of brigadistas and Comunidad Connect, we could participate in surveying families about their access to water and assist with home health projects. Connecting directly with community members motivated us to learn more about their culture and more deeply understand the community. The brigadistas (a good number of whom were younger than us!) taught us a lot as they showed us the steps they are taking in their own communities to improve their system of public health.

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