Photo of the Day

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On Friday the scholarship students who participated in making recycled planters last week got a lesson from Santos, Center gardener, about how to plant and take care of the ornamental plants donated by the local government. The plants are currently on display at the Center and will be taken home by the kids later this week. The hope is that this activity will plant a seed (literally and metaphorically) for the importance of environmental stewardship and a love for nature that these kids can take home and share with their families. This is one of various activities we’d like to do around the theme of environmental sustainability and urban gardening in the year we have remaining here at the Center.

Saludos,
Kelsey

Employee Profile of the Month

IMG_4173Name: Faviola Carolina Espinoza Chavez

Birthday: November 3rd

Neighborhood: Batahola Norte

Job Title: Accountant

Time Working at the Center: 9 years

A Little Information About Me: 

My husband and I are lucky to have three beautiful children, ages 6, 3 and 8 months. We are currently living with my parents and one of my three brothers, even though our goal is to one day be able to have our own home. My husband works for the Coca-Cola company as a business administrator in the sales department. When I get home from work I usually help my son with his homework, make sure dinner is ready and help clean up around the house. In my free time I like to go to the movies or out to eat with my husband and kids. My favorite food to eat when we go out is steak with gallo pinto and fried plaintains. If I had the opportunity to travel anywhere I would want to take my family to Orlando, Florida.

How I Arrived at the Center:

I grew up coming to the Center since I live only 3 blocks away. I started out by taking folkloric dance classes and I also had my first communion here. Later on when I was about 21 years old,  I was a scholarship student in the computer class. I began doing my social service hours in the library but when they needed someone to fill in to teach accounting class that became my social service. At the time I was about to finish my accounting degree so it was a great opportunity for me. From there they hired me on to keep teaching. I changed roles various times over the last 9 years, after teaching I became the cashier, then I was the accountant for the violence prevention project and eventually they asked me to be the accountant for the entire Center. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I had to study and now work here. The reason I have stayed for so long is because I love the work environment at the Center. I have a lot of great coworkers and even though I could earn a lot more in other places, it’s worth being close to home and knowing that I love the work I’m doing.

photo of the day: recycled art!

Kelsey and I are collaborating with Gretchen (the scholarship coordinator) and Arlen (Library coordinator) to plan a few activities this month around environmental stewardship. A group of 15-20 scholarship students brought in old plastic bottles and with some help from the older scholarship students, and a little paint and glitter, turned them into flowerpots. Tomorrow they will attend a short workshop on planting with Santos (Grounds keeper), and then plant seedlings in their pots!

 

 

 

-Erika C.

Transforming Batahola: Taking action to end gender-based violence

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These are a few pictures from one of the youth-led workshops being carried out every week for a month as part of the new Violence Prevention campaign the Center has been funded to implement in the Batahola community. 13 young violence prevention promoters from the Center were trained and are now facilitating workshops with 100 youth ages 13-20 from Batahola. These workshops focus on promoting gender equality, especially through healthy, non-violent relationships. Yesterday I attended one of the workshops for the first time and I was impressed by the capacity of the young facilitators to get across their message in a fun and parcipitatizve way. The unique part of this project is that instead of adults and professional psychologists giving workshops to youth, it’s their own peers: someone who can talk with them on their own level.

Despite all of the stress and frustrations that go into trying to cram a lot of activities in a short 3-month project, it’s been great to get outside the walls of the Center and really start to get to know Batahola on a different level. Community-level work is definitely not easy and doesn’t always bring clear results, but it’s worth it if in the end a just a few youth, a few community leaders, a few men and women, take small steps to prevent gender-based violence in their houses and in their neighborhood.

-Kelsey

*If you’d like to stay up-to-date with the activities going on in the Violence Prevention Project called “Desmarimbando La Violencia en Batahola” check out the Facebook page Red de Promotoria Social Comunitataria-CCBN

Rain causes tragic mudslide last night in Managua

18 de mayo

Last night, it started to rain pretty heavily around 7pm in Managua. While I was at a friend’s house, safe and dry save for a small crack in the ceiling, a few blocks away the neighborhood 8 de mayo was completely unaware of what would soon happen. The neighborhood is a poorer neighborhood in Managua, separated from the neighboring gated residence Lomas de Valle by a large cement retaining wall. With all of the rain, the wall collapsed and fell onto 3 houses in the 8 de mayo neighborhood, burying alive the families inside. Rescue workers labored all night and we able to save 2 children, while another 9 people (between ages 2 and 50) died.

Some say that the families were told the area was unsafe and to leave, but those families obviously did not have the resources to just pick up and move. The father of the 2 rescued girls says that he went to the city to complain once before, because he saw that he the wall was beginning to fall apart.

Whatever the situation was, this was a horrible tragedy that could have been prevented. When awful things happen like this, it gives me a terrible sense of helplessness. Why did this happen? Why were these families living in an unsafe area? It makes me want to call my loved ones and be grateful, BUT more than that it makes me pretty angry and upset that these families weren’t protected. HOW can we work to prevent this from happening again? At least for the moment, we can be sure that all Managuan residents have their eyes and ears on the government, waiting and demanding for something to change.

Until then, please say a prayer for the nine people who lost their lives last night.

 

-Erika C.

photo credit to the newspaper el nuevo diario.

Photo of the Day

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On Friday five members of the Center’s staff received certificates for Cantera’s Gender Workshop which ended after four different week-long modules throughout the year. The modules included themes of Identity, Power & Violence, Sexuality & Affectivity and Just Relations. Pictured are the women who took the workshop, including myself as well as Basic Adult Education teacher, Carla, psychologist, Ivania and general maintenance manager, Gilma. Not pictured is security guard, Ricardo. Throughout this process we all made commitments to things we’d like to work on personally as well as professionally. Yet I think the most life-changing was the relationships made between the men and women who shared in this experience together. Next year Erika will also get the chance to participate in this workshop. Hope you all have a great Monday!

Abrazos,

Kelsey

Photo of the day

The Center’s theme of the month for October is environmental stewardship, so we created the bulletin board out of all recycled materials! The fruit below the tree is where we ask staff and students to share some ways that they take care of the environment. We are also planning a few events for October and November to educate on this topic, and the younger scholarship students will be making flowerpots out of plastic bottles and will get to take them home with a small plant for them to take care of. Stay tuned, there will be more to come!IMG_3117

 

 

-Erika C.

Photo of the Day

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Candido, the Center’s trusted chauffeur and jokester, showed up today in his rain suit ready to start the day with his usual smile

It looks like the drought in Nicaragua has officially passed! Even though it’s pretty common to have a brief rain in the evenings, a rainy day in Managua is pretty rare. In the year I’ve been here I could probably count on one hand the days I’ve woken up to a cloudy sky, but this morning I woke up to the light pitter patter of rain drops on the tin roof. On these kinds of days I’m reminded of home…lazy days of watching TV marathons, or putting on my bright yellow boots and trekking to class on a dreary campus. But despite the heat, noise and occasional seismic activity, I’ve come to love my home here in Managua–rain or shine.

-Kelsey