Nica Agua

Member Monday: Meet Yarisleidy Cortez, Director of Local Development Connections!

October 30th, 2017

For this week’s Member Monday, meet Yarisleidy! Read more to learn about Yarisleidy, her love of the environment, and experience working with Comunidad Connect.

When did you start working for CC?

I started working for CC in 2011. At that time I was working with schools on a recycling program.

Meeting with a community member in Los Robles who will receive a new concrete floor and improved stove.

Describe your role.

I plan and create budgets, direct initiatives, and monitor progress for a variety of community development projects. We started with a recycling project in San Juan del Sur, and after that we started the Nica Agua program that I took the lead on. This year, I am also in charge of overseeing community projects that volunteers participate in, environmental education, communication with our scholarship program – Becas del Carrizal – and other school activities. Now, I’m in charge of the planning, monitoring, and coordination of improved technology projects – stoves, ovens, floors.

What is your favorite part about working with CC?

I love coordinating with my colleagues on projects. It’s easy to communicate and coordinate whichever activity or group we’re working with because everyone is involved in the planning process. There is always support and communication.

What got you interested in working in clean water?

At the start, I was working with environmental projects because in they were working a lot on this topic in the schools. In my classes and my thesis focused on environmental education projects and ecological culture. So, I already liked this topic and I always would volunteer with environmental projects, like clean-up activities on the Pacific coast. When I heard about the opportunity of working with Comunidad Connect as an administrative assistant for environmental projects, I decided to apply. After working on a few projects as an assistant, I became interested in the Nica Agua program and I supported some of its activities. I was sent to the Atlantic coast for a period of time, where I learned more about Nica Agua and I started to see ways in which we could improve the program, make it more sustainable with modifications, and better documented. So working in the Atlantic coast is what helped me most to focus on clean water projects and think about the program’s design.

What is your favorite place to visit in Nicaragua?

I’m still getting to know so many parts of Nicaragua, but for me I would say the coast and the ocean is my favorite place (Yarisleidy is from San Juan del Sur, in southern Nicaragua).

What is your favorite holiday in Nicaragua?

Fiestas Patrias! I used to love the activities we did in school to celebrate.

What is your spirit animal?

Yarisleidy loves the ocean and the night sky!

A wolf, because they are strong leaders, they’re independent, and they have a bit of mystery about them. Each one has a specific role in a clan, but they all work as a group. I also love the moon and the night.

Dogs are one of Yarisleidy’s favorite animals, especially Memo!

What hobbies or talents do you have that most people don’t know about?

It’s not quite a hobby or talent, but I’m vegetarian. It’s not very common to be vegetarian in Nicaragua, but one of the things I believe is that we need to have coherence with what we do, what we say, and what we feel. For that reason, five years ago I decided to have this coherence that I had always been talking about with respect to my lifestyle and choices of how I interact with the world. Another fun fact is that tulips are my favorite flowers, but they don’t exist in Nicaragua!

Thanks Yarisleidy! Check in next week for our next Member (& Memo) Monday! 

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Education for the Children of San Esteban

January 11th, 2017

Written by Yarisleidy Mayorquin, Coordinator of Nica Agua

Léalo en español!



The “Water Droplets” work on an educational poster. Las “Gotitas de Agua” completan un póster educativo.

The work of Nica Agua doesn’t stop at delivering filters and monitoring their use; the program is becoming more and more like the new model we are implementing in San Esteban. There we strengthen the capabilities of our community volunteers as well as the children, because children are the best demographic to learn and apply new information. A group of 21 kids between the ages of 7 and 13, representatives of their local primary school, receive a talk once a month focused on health and prevention where they learn about filters, water purification, hygiene, and cleanliness. These talks are dynamic and help the kids to strengthen their reading, speaking, and drawing abilities while instilling in them the spirit of volunteering. An environment where children always keep their community in mind, transmit their knowledge to their classmates, and motivate their parents, neighbors and friends to participate in community development is the goal that we hope to one day achieve!

Encouraging team work. Promoviendo el trabajo en equipo.

Encouraging team work. Promoviendo el trabajo en equipo.

“Water Droplets” is now the nickname for these children that have participated in our educational talks. After chatting with Martaeliza Blandon, the technical coordinator of Nica Agua in San Esteban, about the activities we’ve done, we wanted to find a name for this group of kids to make them feel special. After many ideas and much laughter, while a rain storm came our way, the name “Water Droplets” was born. The nickname is the perfect fit for the group of kids chosen to learn about various subjects and in turn teach them in their classrooms. I hope that the kids like their new nickname and believe that from a drop can come a stream; that a constant drip can change the shape of the hardest stones.

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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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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.



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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.




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Yarisleidy Mayorquin: Nica Agua Program Administrator

November 23rd, 2015

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

Lea este blog en español

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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The Inspiring Journey of Nerys Blandon, Community Servant

May 27th, 2015

By Jon Thompson, Comunidad Connect Co-Founder and Board President

By the time Comunidad Connect launched the Nica Agua program in Los Robles in 2011, I had been in Los Robles for almost 5 years.  I had met Angela Lopez, a local pioneer health volunteer, and her daughter Nerys on several occasions.  I knew of the brigadistas and their work out of the Casa Base, which consisted of their living room that they offer up for basic health care 24/7.  They facilitated post and prenatal care, calls for the Jinotega ambulance, and general assistance with an emergency situation. Having grown up in such an environment, Nerys was the logical person to emerge as the project coordinator for Nica Agua.

And emerge she did.  I realized this in no uncertain terms when I looked over my shoulder to see her seated in 6D on Delta 370 to Atlanta, GA.  She had been invited by Social Enterprise at Goizueta to speak to students and faculty and meet with a growing number of NCHC Advocates (more on them later) who were eager to reconnect with Los Robles.  Flying over the Gulf of Mexico, I thought back to when Nerys was once too shy to speak with me directly, much less speak in front of 30 foreigners.  She once fumbled through text messages.  Now she manages her email via via her smart phone, participates in video conferences, and submits monthly reports.


Nerys with her two youngest children, Engyl (right, 6) and Ashly (left, 8), before leaving Los Robles for her flight the following morning out of Managua.

Nerys with her two youngest children, Engyl (right, 6) and Ashly (left, 9), preparing to leave Los Robles for the Atlanta visit

Just how far she has come was highlighted as we ascended to the 4th floor of Emory’s Goizueta School of Business and walked the long hallway past offices and cubicles.  We found the conference room with all the A/V appointments you could imagine and a sea of smiling graduate students, staff, and faculty waiting for us.  As I set up the powerpoint presentation she and Kim had prepared, Nerys’ smile became infectious throughout the room.  And as she seamlessly explained the message behind each slide, her confidence could not have been more evident.  She commanded the room, and she impressed us all.  The applause at the end was perfect punctuation.

Nerys (second from the left) meets with students of Emory University's Goizueta Business School. CC's Kim Gordon (immediately to the left of Nerys) translates.

Nerys (second from the left) meets with students of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. CC’s Kim Gordon (immediately to the left of Nerys) translates.

They say you never really know a person until you meet their family.  As many times as we have been with Nerys’ family, her recent trip to Atlanta was the first time she had the opportunity to meet our people in our hometown.  Nerys came away with a more profound understanding of who we are as individuals, parents, friends and professionals, where we come from, and why we are so committed to our work in Los Robles.  It is a perspective that can only come from trusting each other enough to open up and share that which we keep close to our hearts.  By spending time in our homes, offices, classrooms, and places of worship, Nerys was exposed to our culture much in the same way she facilitates for us every day we spend with her in Los Robles.   Thank you everyone who made that possible.

Nerys and CC PiLA Fellow Kim Gordon with two students of Emory University's Goizueta Business School and a donation to the NCHC project!

Nerys and CC PiLA Fellow Kim Gordon with two students of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and a donation to the NCHC project!

I am humbled by how Nerys has embraced NCHC.  The Nicaragua Community Health Connection is a success because of her hard work, yet there are others who play significant supporting roles.  The 14 brigadistas that are the boots on the ground every day in Los Robles, the 30+ NCHC Advocates that make small yet critical monthly donations to support the Los Robles Clinic, and institutions like SEG, CC, MINSA, and a growing number of international universities are all part of the vast network working to ensure NCHC becomes a model for rural community health in Nicaragua.  Together, we are NCHC.

For information on how to become an NCHC Advocate, contact us:

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