Yarisleidy Mayorquin: Nica Agua Program Administrator

November 23rd, 2015

Written by: Yarisleidy Mariana Cortez Mayorquin, Administrator of Nica Agua & Community Projects

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Before Comunidad Connect I had a few informal jobs while studying at the university.

I started my professional work experience with Comunidad Connect while I was finishing up my studies. I began as Assistant Director and now I am the head of Nica Agua & Community Projects. From planning to executing projects, my experience has been enriching both personally and professionally. Every day new situations arise, along with new challenges inside and outside the office. Through learning, feedback and sharing with coworkers, we as a CC team achieve success. Without a doubt our work is bringing positive results.


Yarisleidy works with CC staff on Data Analysis

My character is a mix of calm and temperamental, therefore I describe myself as a person with various qualities. I like to work for the wellbeing of people, families, and their communities. I always keep in mind that my priority above all else is the community. They are my people, they are the families with whom I have connected and they have trusted me. For this reason sometimes I take control of situations in order to be able to take into account the perspective of every team member. (more…)

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La Academia de Fútbol – La Perspectiva del Entrendor

October 28th, 2015

Escrito por: Ronald Zeledon, Equipo de Logistica y Entrenedor de Futbol, Comunidad Connect

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En aquellos días mi amigo Jon Thompson visitaba la comunidad de Los Robles con los grupos de voluntarios para realizar proyectos comunitarios con todos los programas que cuenta Comunidad Connect. Uno de tantos días que pasaba por la plaza en donde él observaba siempre muchos chavalos jugando y divirtiéndose con el deporte del futbol. A él le daba ganas de jugar.

soccerYa que la pasión de Jon es jugar futbol y otros deportes, a él le encantaba el fervor por el cual los chavalos jugaban el futbol. Jon empezó a pensar como sería posible ayudar en la comunidad con respecto al futbol. Un día estábamos trabajando con un grupo y Jon y yo observamos en la plaza un grupo de chavalas con mucha alegría jugar al futbol. Se comienza la plática de como empezar el proyecto de una Academia de futbol. Con los conocimientos que tengo sobre futbol y mi experiencia trabajando con niños y el empuje que tiene Jon, empezamos a darle forma y vida a la idea asombrosa de crear una Academia dirigida por Comunidad Connect.


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The Soccer Academy – Coach’s Perspective

October 28th, 2015

Written by: Ronald Zeledon, Logistics Team and Soccer Academy Coach, Comunidad Connect

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In one of his many visits to the community of Los Robles, I got to know Jon Thompson while he worked with Comunidad Connect volunteers. One of those days I walked past the soccer field in town where Jon was watching the kids playing soccer and having a great time. This inspired Jon – he wanted to play.

soccerSince Jon’s passion is soccer and sports in general, he loved the fervor the kids brought to the field. Jon started to brainstorm the possibility of supporting Los Robles through the game of soccer. One day we were working with a group of volunteers and Jon and I observed a group of girls playing soccer; they were filled with joy. We started talking and arrived at the idea of a Soccer Academy. With my knowledge and experience with soccer and working with kids, along with the push the Jon gave, we began to form the amazing idea of creating an Academy through Comunidad Connect.


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At home in Los Robles

October 19th, 2015

Written by: Theresa Bailey, Princeton in Latin America Fellow 2015-2016, Comunidad Connect

When I first arrived in Los Robles I was bombarded by overwhelming feelings of excitement and ‘what have I gotten myself into’ – still overwhelmed by the singsong Nicaraguan accent that didn’t seem to form intelligible words in my head. As we weaved our way past the glistening lake and through the mountainous terrain, I wondered if I would be able to understand my host family.


Theresa’s new home


We entered the community and I became acquainted with the cow-filled fields lining the main road. Finally I saw my house-to-be, gently nestled amongst thick forests of coffee. My nerves quickly returned as I stepped inside to meet my hosts. My host mother and father seemed kind, yet quiet, probably wondering if I would be happy here just as intensely as I was wondering the same. I have two host sisters, one my age and a 9-year-old, and a host niece who’s six – her father lives with us as well. It’s a full house and the first few nights I felt most comfortable chatting with our then pregnant cat who stared with understanding. I could feel the wariness surrounding the new ‘gringa’ – no one really knew what to say to break the ice. (more…)

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Nica Agua: Expanding to San Esteban

October 5th, 2015

by Grace Galloway, Princeton in Latin America Fellow, Comunidad Connect

Since beginning in 2011 Nica Agua has partnered with 16 communities, working side by side with community members as they achieve their goal: access to clean drinking water in their homes.

Final meeting with community leaders to explain project results and goals. Photo: Yarisleidy Mayorquin

Final meeting with community leaders. Yarisleidy, third from left, explains project results and conclusions.

This fall marks a time of both conclusions and beginnings for Nica Agua. Our team has just concluded the third follow up on filters for over 500 families in 13 communities in the Atlantic Regions of Nicaragua. Each monitoring includes quantitative and qualitative questions about the use and effectiveness of the filters. We are excited to report that nearly all families report “excellent” or “good” results from their filter. The small proportion of families who report subpar results gives Comunidad Connect an opportunity for improvement and reflection. More in depth quantitative results will be published in an upcoming report!


Technician completing filter follow-up surveys. Photo: Yarisleidy Mayorquin

As we conclude our projects in the Atlantic regions, we begin to expand to San Esteban, in Jinotega, Northern Nicaragua. San Esteban, a coffee farming community of about 100 families, is nestled right next door to Los Robles, one of our most active community partners. San Esteban became interested Comunidad Connect’s filter program after seeing its success in Los Robles. (more…)

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Bus Thoughts

September 22nd, 2015

Written by: Grace Galloway, Princeton in Latin America Fellow, 2015-2016, Comunidad Connect

Since moving to San Juan del Sur in early August as the new Princeton in Latin America fellow with Comunidad Connect, I’ve spent a lot of time on buses.

I never sleep on buses. People tell you not to sleep because someone might take your stuff, but I don’t sleep because I don’t want to miss anything. In two years in Panama with my previous job, I essentially memorized the Pan-American from Panama City till it turned into a jungle. I want to memorize the highways here as well.


This San Juan del Sur bus takes Sundays off, resting up for the week ahead. – Photo: Grace Galloway


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Exploration & Empowerment: my summer internship with Comunidad Connect

July 29th, 2015

By Anna Menke, 2015 Princeton IIP Intern, Comunidad Connect

In the fall of my junior year at Princeton University it dawned upon me that I was about to embark upon my last real summer. After reflecting upon what I really wanted to get out of the ensuing summer, I eventually settled on the following four-pronged criteria: 1.) I wanted to learn about something new, 2.) I wanted to learn about what kind of work I might like or dislike, 3.) I wanted to do something that I found intellectually interesting, challenging and rewarding, and 4.) I wanted a little bit of an adventure.

Anna installing a solar power system at an "off-the-grid" primary school in La Esperanz, Jinotega

Anna installing a solar power system at an “off-the-grid” primary school in La Esperanza, Jinotega


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Dos Muchachas en Atlanta

July 14th, 2015

Escrito por: Kim Gordon, Princeton-in-Latin America Fellow, Comunidad Connect 2015

Cuando me di cuenta de que mi beca para la pasantía con Comunidad Connect cubriría dos vuelos a Atlanta, hice mi meta personal llevar a mi colega Nicaragüense, Nerys Blandon, a los Estados Unidos.

Nerys es una líder increíble, haciendo todo con pasión y fuerza. Sin embargo, todo le da miedo, todito. Siempre me contaba de las pesadillas del día anterior en una manera graciosa pero seria: la amenaza de enfermedades, peligros, animales bravos, lluvia, y tormentas. Por eso, yo sabía que su reacción a la propuesta de viajar a los Estados Unidos sería “¡¡NOOOO, KEEEM, NOOO!!” Pero también sabía que ella quería decir, “¡¿Tal vez, Keem, no lo sé, puede ser?!”Yo le dije que sería una oportunidad profesional e inolvidable, y que no podemos crecer si estamos demasiadas cómodas. Ya era hora de sentirse incómoda. No importaba que nunca haya salido más allá de Jinotega en su vida.



Nerys, Kim, and Sustainable Tourism Program Manager Alicia Harvey at work in Los Robles

Nerys, Kim, and Sustainable Tourism Program Manager Alicia Harvey at work in Los Robles


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Mixing Work and Play – Part 2

June 22nd, 2015

This entry is the second of a two-part series. See “Mixing Work and Play – Part 1” for coverage of the extensive preparation that preceded Sam’s donation.

Nicaraguans and foreigners alike joke about Nicaragua’s lax standards of punctuality, but this afternoon seems quite the exception to that rule. The distribution is scheduled for 4:30 pm, but by 4:15 pm the Sports Park is ready to go. Little athletes swarm the court, playing soccer and basketball, at the same time, on the same goals. I frantically try to keep my new camera in one piece while photographing the fun. A small crowd has gathered along the north side, trying to peak inside the twenty or so black bags that line the wall.

The players gather around to hear words from Dariel, Alejandro, and Sam

The players gather around to hear words from Dariel, Alejandro, and Sam


Mixing Work and Play – Part 1

June 15th, 2015

It’s folks like Sam Bensley who make our work at Comunidad Connect a pleasure as well as a success. Look no further than Sam’s visit to San Juan del Sur in January 2015 – with 350 pounds in donations of sports equipment in tow – to see why.

This entry is the first of a two-part series. Check next week for coverage of the donation ceremony and conclusion of Sam’s inspirational visit.

Sam and the youngsters fired up

Sam and the youngsters fired up


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