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 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.)
Tagged: boulder, colorado, fundraiser, partners
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
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.
Tagged: community, Comunidad, doctor, doctora, Familia, family, Health, Jinotega, Nicaragua, Salud
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.
As 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.
Tagged: cambio, change, desarrollo, Development, Health, Jinotega, Los Robles, Nicaragua, Salud
July 14th, 2016
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 email@example.com to make a donation!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org para hacer la donación!
Tagged: Clothing, Donation, Gardening, San Juan del Sur, School, Tools
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 email@example.com. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting immediately.
Read the complete job description here!
Tagged: Clean Water, intern, literature, research
June 15th, 2016
Do 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 firstname.lastname@example.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!
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.
Tagged: Baking, Brigadistas, Cocinar, Cultural Connections, Ducks, Hornear, Los Robles, NCHC, Nicaragua, Oregon Ducks, University of Oregon, volunteer
May 17th, 2016
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.
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 her family and Theresa Bailey of Comunidad Connect
Tagged: agua limpio, Clean Water, family, Jinotega, Los Robles, NCHC, Nica Agua, Nicaragua, Sustainable Development, Theresa Bailey
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.
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.
Tagged: community, Comunidad, growth, Nicaragua, oportunidad, opportunity, Sustainable Development
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
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.
Tagged: Aprender, Clinic, Clinica, Compartir, Learn, Los Robles, Medicina Natural, Natural Medicine, NCHC, Nicaragua, Share