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For more information about volunteering, please e-mail batholavolunteers@gmail.com.

 Volunteers accompany the CCBN in its mission to empower individuals, especially women and youth, for social transformation through holistic education and artistic formation.

What is the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte?

The Centro Cultural Batahola Norte (CCBN) was founded in 1983 by Sister Margie Navarro and Fr. Ángel Torrellas during the Contra War in Nicaragua.  The CCBN offers certified technical courses, arts programs, violence prevention programs, scholarships, and a community library. Over 1,000 students enroll in 20 courses every year.

Our Mission:

 Volunteers seek to accompany the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte in its mission of empowering women and youth for social transformation. Volunteers dedicate themselves to the development of their spirituality and social consciousness through their community life.

Our Values:

Accompaniment: Batahola Volunteers strive to live and work in solidarity with the Nicaraguan people by opening themselves to listening, learning, and sharing with community members.

Social Justice: As collaborators with the CCBN, Batahola Volunteers become a part of the action-reflection cycle that leads to social change.  We support the CCBN’s initiatives of women and youth empowerment, while endeavoring to lead a simple, sustainable lifestyle.

Spirituality: Batahola Volunteers seek to share and explore spirituality together and with the larger community through participating in local faith gatherings, self-led reflection, and retreats.

What do we do?

Batahola Volunteers co-teach the adult English class and respond directly to other needs expressed by the CCBN, according to the individual volunteer’s skills and interests.

Other activities volunteers have been involved in include:

-Working with a team of facilitators to plan and lead Good Habits and Study Technique sessions for students in the Center’s scholarship program

– Updating this blog and the Center’s Facebook page, taking pictures and writing articles to keep friends and supporters in the U.S. updated on current events in Nicaragua, the Center, and our experiences as volunteers

-Accompanying weekly women’s focus groups with a psychologist from the Center

-Participating and offering logistical support in the Youth Violence Prevention Network

– Leading bi-monthly Tai Chi sessions and other self-care activities for staff

-Organizing educational activities about environmental sustainability with kids and adolescents

-Interviewing over 200 scholarship students each year (January-April) and making student profiles to send to donors through Project Education

– Orienting short-term volunteers and translating for delegations to the CCBN

-Participating in Friday morning volunteer reflection/meditation

– Being involved in community activities and classes, including Latin rhythms dance class, monthly community forums on violence prevention, weekly Mass, etc.

 

Who We Are Looking For:

Highly motivated young people committed to learning about and participating in social change for two years in Nicaragua!

Friends of Batahola Volunteers (FOBV) welcomes women and men of all ethnic origins, gender, economic status, and sexual orientations.

Applicants should:

– Be age 21 or older

– Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

– Be willing to live in two-person intentional community

– Be in good physical and psychological health

– Have no dependents

Batahola volunteers also have:

– Experience of at least 3 consecutive months living abroad, with a strong preference for those with experience in Latin America.

– At least intermediate proficiency in Spanish

The Centro Cultural Batahola Norte is an exciting and dynamic work environment. We encourage applications from candidates who can work well independently as well as collaboratively, are flexible, and have a strong commitment to social justice and their own personal growth.

 

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Surprise Marimba Lessons

Teresa Fuller

Today at Batahola Kelsey and I had the opportunity to learn a little bit about playing the Marimba! The marimba is a mainstay of Nicaraguan folk music, and it can be heard in almost every traditional song. In my time here I have had occasional contact with Marimbas, though I had never yet been able to play one. The school where I work had a folk dancing festival and hired a real Marimba band to play at the final event, and I have often seen marimbas at Batahola events. Today I actually got to play one!

The practice session was a surprise for us when I arrived here this afternoon. We met with Nineth (the music teacher) in El Nuevo Amanecer, where she had set up the Marimba. She told us a little bit about the origins of the Marimba, and about its construction. Apparently, it came from Africa (but was perfected here), and depending on the instrument it can be played by between one and eight people at the same time.

Nineth taught us a song piece by piece (she said it was simple… I am not so sure about that…). We would learn a little bit, practice it, try very hard to play it simultaneously, and then learn a little more. I liked playing the Marimba with a friend, it was fun trying to stay on rhythm while both of us made occasional mistakes and had to start over again. I don’t think I had ever realized that there was such a communal aspect to the music. The Marimba can be played as a solo instrument, but it is so much more harmonic when there are two people working together. Other instruments may lend themselves to individualism, but two-person Marimbas need teamwork and the ability to trust each other (both trust that we’ll work together, and trust that we won’t judge each other when we inevitably make mistakes).

Music is of enormous importance here at Batahola, and it has been since the very beginnings of the center. We use it to build community, we pursue both personal and communal development. By learning team-dependent music (like the Marimba) we strengthen our relationships and practice being a supportive community.

 

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