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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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Rosa Diaz: Impact of NCHC

May 17th, 2016
Rosa and Alder Diaz

Rosa Diaz with her son Alder

¡Léalo en Español!

We recently had a chance to catch up with Rosa Diaz of Los Robles, where the Nicaragua Community Health Connection program has operated since 2013. The impact of this program on this community has been drastic and we are happy to share Rosa’s thoughts in this post.

After reading, click here to become a NCHC advocate and support families just like Rosa’s!

 

First of all, our water filter has been a great benefit to my family. Before, my sons, especially the youngest, would get very sick from diarrhea. Now they do not. My youngest is healthy and he loves filtered water. He even asks for it! Before my family drank water directly from the tap and we stored large quantities in barrels. It tasted bad and the water in the barrels would come contaminated. Now our water tastes much better and my sons have learned why it is so important to have clean drinking water.

Next, our floor. We are still waiting to see the long-term health benefits, because during rainy season our kitchen floods with rain water. I hope that the new floor will allow the water to flow through and make it easier to clean when it pools. If that happens, my sons will be able to come into the kitchen and help me cook without getting wet. But for now we have seen a large change in our family since the installation of the concrete floor. Now my sons can play on the ground in the kitchen without getting dirt on their hands, clothes and shoes. It is much cleaner and healthier for them to play in our kitchen.

Finally, our oven. We’ve been very blessed in receiving this project. Since we got it, I have baked bread five times for my family. Now I don’t have to buy bread from the store. I save money this way, and I also save firewood because of the improved design. My extended family comes over to bake too. It’s be a benefit for the whole family.

Rosa Diaz with family and Theresa Bailey

Rosa Diaz with her family and Theresa Bailey of Comunidad Connect

Click here to become a NCHC Advocate today!

 

 

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Completing the Puzzle of Community Development

May 9th, 2016

Written by: Roman Yavich, Comunidad Connect Co-Founder

I’m really lucky to have been born where I was and have the chance to get good healthcare, a good education, and an opportunity to do what I want to do in life. Many people don’t have that type of luck. They are born in places where meeting basic human needs is a daily challenge. For me working in Nicaragua is a way to make the best use of the opportunity that I have had in life.

I came to Nicaragua in 2006 to study the impact that tourism growth was having in this country and understand what would make tourism more sustainable. What came out of that project is Comunidad Connect.

CC Staff at Fun Bajo el Sol

From left to right, back row: Blog author, Roman Yavich. Alejandro Noguera, Theresa Bailey, Jon Thompson, Dariel Potoy. Left to right, front row: Yarisleidy Mayorquin, Anielka Galan, Grace Galloway, Ronald Zeledon, Samuel Munguia

One of our first volunteers Mat Mendonca was so inspired by his experience that he donated all of his summer earnings from fighting forest fires to start our water filter project, Nica Agua, that this day has allowed more than 6000 people across Nicaragua to drink clean water.  I recently had the chance to translate for a group of doctors and nurses as they visited residents in the rural Los Robles community, where much of our work has taken place. What an amazing feeling to be able to facilitate these connections!

Our vision in Nicaragua is ambitious but attainable. We want to create a network of communities across Nicaragua, driven by their own strengths, knowledge, and leadership, with support from international partners, donors, and volunteers. Income through tourism and small business entrepreneurship can support health and education-focused programming envisioned, driven, and managed locally by the community. Comunidad Connect would be like a phone operator of the past, plugging resources into development projects. We’re building a large puzzle with thousands of pieces. When you put all the pieces together a beautiful picture emerges.

I invite you to help us complete this puzzle. Come to Nicaragua, learn about what makes it such a special place, and experience sustainable community development first-hand.

HOI volunteers share health and hygiene education, and of course fun, with the children of Los Robles.

HOI volunteers share health and hygiene education, and of course fun, with the children of Los Robles.

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Perspectiva de Participante: Charlas de Medicina Natural

April 29th, 2016

Inspirado por: Flavia Castro, Participante de Charla de Medicina Natural, Los Robles

Read in English!

Flavia Castro, after the workshop, después de la charla

Flavia Castro, after the workshop, después de la charla

Este abril, los brigadistas de salud de Los Robles han brindado un mes de charlas sobre la medicina tradicional. Aquí tenemos la perspectiva de Señora Flavia Castro, una de los más que 60 participantes que llegaron.

“[Yo asisto a las charlas] porque es algo importante; nos ayuda para mejorar la salud. Con estas charlas aprendemos sobre la medicina natural y todo es algo que podemos hacer en la casa. También, con estos conocimientos podemos ayudar a otros, nuestros vecinos, y hacer por ellos algo que mejorará su salud. Agradezco a Comunidad Connect por seguir apoyándonos y espero que siguen apoyándonos en el futuro. Espero que después de esta charla podemos aprender más [sobre la salud preventiva] para mejorar nuestras vidas diarias. Con la unidad y fe en Dios, podemos realizar cualquier cosa.”

Nos llena con alegría saber que los brigadistas de salud están mejorando la salud de su comunidad a través de compartir conocimiento y tiempo con sus vecinos.

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Participant’s Perspective: Natural Medicine Workshop

April 29th, 2016
Inspired by: Flavia Castro, Natural Medicine Workshop Attendee, Los Robles

¡Lea en español!

The community health workers of Los Robles have hosted one month of traditional medicine talks in Los Robles.

Flavia Castro, after the workshop, después de la charla

Flavia Castro, after the workshop, después de la charla

Flavia Castro, of the participants in the natural medicine charlas, reflects on her experience: “I attend the workshops because it’s very important; they help us to improve our health. With these workshops we learn about natural medicine and all the things that we can make right at home. Also, with this knowledge we can help others – our neighbors – and do something that improves their health. I am grateful that Comunidad Connect continuously supports us and I hope we continue to receive this support in the future. I hope that after these workshops we can learn more about preventative health to improve our daily lives. With unity and faith in God, we can do anything.”

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Una Nota de Una Brigadista de Salud

April 26th, 2016

Read this post in English!

Escrito por: Nerys Blandon, Cordinadora de Educación y Enlace Comunitaria, Comunidad Connect

Hola Equipo,

Quiero compartirles la experiencia en San Esteban.

Fuimos hace un par de semanas a San Esteban, para organizar el censo del proyecto Nica Agua. Los miembros de la comunidad que llegaron llegaron tarde. La expresion de la unica brigadiata alla era que nadie quiere ser brigadista, sola ella. Ella me dijo que cuando les explicó a la comunidad del trabajo no les gustó. Ella tenía la preocupación de que si el líder del grupo es negativo, todo el equipo va a ser negativo.

El Equipo de San Esteban - San Esteban Team

El Equipo de San Esteban – San Esteban Team

En este momento empezamos la reunion y les dije nuestra forma de trabajar, nuestra vivencia en Los Robles. Les prometí que ibamos a compartir con ellos todo lo que hemos hecho. Les pregunté si hay alguien que le gustaría ser brigadista de salud. Me preguntaron, “qué tenemos que hacer?” Les respondí, “Por hoy solo tienen a una brigadista de salud y hoy vamos a empezar a expandir el grupo con los que están aquí.” Supimos que otros nos iban a seguir.

Un par de días después de la reunion, llegaron dos jóvenes a mi casa que iban a ayudar rectificar el censo. Pero no solo eso, ¡van a participar como brigadistas de salud! Me preguntaron, “Cuantos brigadistas podemos ser?” “Pueden ser 10 brigadistas,” les dije. Los escuche tan animados, me dijeron que van a lograrlo.

Hoy en día tenemos 10 brigadistas de salud en San Esteban, 4 mujeres y 6 hombres.

Gracias a todos, por seguir dando cobertura a más comunidades.

Saludos,

Nerys

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A letter from a Community Health Worker

April 26th, 2016

¡Lea en Español!

Written by Nerys Blandón, Community Outreach and Education Coordinator, Comunidad Connect

Hello team,

I want to share an experience from the community of San Esteban.

A few weeks ago we went to San Esteban to organize the census for their upcoming Nica Agua project. Only a few community members came to the meeting, and those who came arrived late. The only community health worker, or brigadista, there gave the impression that no one knew why they should be there; the was the only one truly interested. She told me that when she explained to the community about the community health work, no body seemed interested. She was worried that if the group leader was negative, the whole group would be negative.

El Equipo de San Esteban - San Esteban Team

El Equipo de San Esteban – San Esteban Team

At this moment we started the meeting and I told them about our work style and the success we’ve had in Los Robles. I promised that we would share with them everything we’ve learned. I asked them if anyone would like to be a brigadista. They asked me, “What would we have to do?” I told them “Today your community only has one brigadista and today we are going to expand that group using those of you here.” We knew they would want to join.

A few days later two young men arrived at my house to help with the census, but they had other news as well. They decided to become brigadistas! They asked me “How many brigadistas can there be?” I told them 10. They sounded so excited and they said they were going to gather the group of ten.

Now we have 10 community health works in San Esteban, four women and six men.

Thank you everyone for allowing us to reach out to more and more communities.

Saludos,

Nerys

 

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