Celebrating Nicaraguan Style

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On Saturday I was invited to attend the birthday party of my neighbor and host niece, Hillary. She just turned two…hard how fast she has grown over the past year that I’ve been here in Batahola. What I love about birthday celebrations here is that people go around their block inviting all of their neighbors. And not just that, but they go all out with the celebration. The party included a clown that painted faces, made balloon animals and led games for the children. There was also lots of food including a rice and meat dish, bread, cake and lots of candy. Each person who arrived even got a gift of a Dora themed canister with treats. It’s fun to see a community coming together to celebrate despite the economic difficulties in working-class Batahola. Surely not only Hillary, but many other children in the community will take away good memories and pictures from the celebration. Here I share a few of mine, hope you enjoy and get a peek into what a Nicaraguan birthday celebration is like.

Kelsey

Photo of the Day

IMG_3410Young adults in Friday morning drawing and painting class put on by a new project called ACCESS supported by the North American Cultural Center in Managua. Project ACCESS is teaming with the Center to have a place to offer classes with the hope that these classes will be more accessible for people in surrounding communities. This particular class will be taking place at the Center until October.

Kelsey

Getting to know Our Coworkers

Employee Profile of the Month

IMG_3409Name: Maria Isabel Quezada Acevedo

Birthday: September 28th

Neighborhood: Ciudad Sandino

Job Title: Housekeeping

Time working in the Center: 3 years

A Little Information About me:

I live with my mom, my brother and my son. My son is 25 years old and is studying to become a lawyer. When I get home after work I always continue working. I have to clean, cook and wash clothes so I normally don’t have much free time. When we have vacations I don’t like to go out much, but rather I prefer to stay at home and rest. Although one place I would like to travel is the Montelimar beach, so hopefully I can take advantage of the Center’s end of the year outing to go this December. One food that I could never give up eating is grilled meat, especially steak.

How I arrived at the Center:

I came to know the Center through my neighbor who was a professor here at the Center. I’m happy to have a job here and I truly enjoy my work. I like that we receive many benefits for working here like the ability to take a class for free. Last year I took a cooking class and I enjoyed it a lot. Also I think the relationship that the Center has with the Friends of Batahola is very special. Before coming to the Center I was a very timid person, but now I feel that I can communicate better.

 

Employee Profiles is a new initiative we’re taking to get to know coworkers on a more personal level as well as promote community here at the Center. We hope to do one employee each month for the rest of our time here. Profiles will also be posted here at the Center and on the Center’s local Facebook page. We hope you enjoy!

-Kelsey

Day of Action for the Life of Women

Photo curtesy of Miguel Molina, El Nuevo Diario

International Women’s Day march last year in Managua. Photo curtesy of Miguel Molina, El Nuevo Diario

Today Nicaragua is celebrating “Dia de Accion por la Vida de las Mujeres” which calls for action against violence and femicides going on around the world, but especially in Latin America. Articles on femicides have been plastered throughout the news with 48 femicides currently on record so far this year Nicaragua. Even though this number is disturbing, I was even more astonished to read that Honduras recorded 629 femicides last year, which amounts to one women killed every 13 hours. To say the least, the struggle to end violence against women is long from over. But today both women and men stand up and speak out against this violence. Feminist groups and NGO’s all over the country are organizing vigils, rallies, concerts and other events this week to celebrate this holiday and call attention to the crude reality of femicides that are occurring. Later on this month the Center will be holding its second community forum facilitated by the Center’s psychologist which opens up dialogue about femicides and violence against women in the Batahola community.

Kelsey

Resources:

http://www.confidencial.com.ni/articulo/18394/quot-ni-una-asesinada-mas-quot

http://infosurhoy.com/en_GB/articles/saii/features/main/2014/05/06/feature-01

Song of the Day: Caparazón

It’s been a busy month full of many visitors and volunteers coming and going here at the Center. But the first semester of classes is coming to a close which means it’s time for some vacation! After Saturday’s Cierre Cultural ( a closing cultural performance where most classes preform or present what they’ve learned this year so far) the Center will be closed for a full week and we’ll all be enjoying some time for resting and recharging for next semester. Erika will be taking off for Minnesota for a visit back home and I will be spending the week traveling with my sister who came back to visit me!

So here is a song to kick start vacation, the main verse says:

“sacar el corazón de caparazón y respirar,  y respirar un poco.”

“take your heart out of its shell and breath, just breath a little.”

After a busy first half of the year it’s time to take a big breath of relief and enjoy vacation. And of course see our favorite Managua band, Garcin, play live this weekend! Hope you take a deep breath and enjoy the song of the day.

 

Kelsey

Photo of the Day

IMG_3348 IMG_3349

Shout out to Kelsey Overly, thanks for spending a month of your summer building relationships here in Batahola. We enjoyed getting to know you and sharing in our mutual interests of exercising, eating chocolate and watching New Girl. We’ll miss your friendly smile around the Center and our English students will definitely miss your all of your support.

Also a shout out to Mark Overly, even thought your visit was short, we always enjoy seeing a friendly face from the Board. Feel free to fly in for a visit anytime!

Kelsey

Photo of the Day: Rain!!

IMG_3342This year has shown some strange weather patterns here in Nicaragua. Normally rainy season starts at the beginning of May, but up until today it has only rained twice here in Managua. This means the ground has stayed dry and continues to radiate heat in the fierce sunlight. Managua doesn’t see many overcast days, so the heat at midday is nearly unbearable. At this time of year the rains should be starting to cool down the temperatures, but we’re still sweating as much as ever!

Apparently this phenomenon is called “El Niño,” which without going into scientific detail basically means we’re in a drought. There have been evidence of climate change all over the world, but research shows that Nicaragua and other Central American countries will be getting hit the hardest with these effects. Some even predict that the rain today might be our last for a long while, but as for now, we’re going to enjoy it while we can.

As the rain pattered on the tin roofs staff and students went out to take it in, some children even laughing and jumping with excitement. Not sure if it was the rain or the large amounts of chocolate and peanut butter I ate today (generously provided by Friends of Batahola Board Member, Mark Overly on his visit), but my giddy child-like excitement was tempting me to join in the celebration!

Kelsey

Photo of the Day

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This picture captures the energy and spirit the IHM and McNick group brought to the Center this past weekend. We really enjoyed  accompanying this group because of their willingness to make fools of themselves and find ways to bond despite language and cultural barriers. They will be missed around here, until next year that is!

Kelsey