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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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Celebrating the life of Sister Margie

Last night in CCNN we all came together to celebrate Sister Margie, her life, and her legacy.  This year the center decided to have a dance recital to convey the passion Sister Margie had for her dear friends here in Nicaragua.

I’ve heard many people say that she always had a smile and she was a very positive person. Her smile definitely showed her attitude and her character as she walked through the streets. After all she had endured while fighting for justice, she would still brightly shine. She stood her ground after everything that was happening around her:

“In Panama, she narrowly escaped the death inflicted upon her friend and co-worker, Father Hector.  Had she not been unexpectedly delayed, she would have been riding with him in the jeep that was shoved over the mountain with him inside”

-Lorraine Holtel

She had this passion and this calling to continue and touch more lives; and that’s exactly what she did.  Sister Margie continued doing what gave many others enough fear to throw in the towel, but she was going to fight until the end.

“At the time I wondered how this woman who fought such a hard, determined battle against poverty could smile so much.  Now I know that she believed she was winning-and she was.”

-Charlene Meyer

Many of those who I have spoken with told me that she always knew when to ask if someone needed help or if they were okay.  One woman told me that she could just sense if something was off about a person and would lend an ear to listen.  She was a woman that cared dearly for her friends and even for those who she didn’t know, she would still open her heart to them.

“I remember whenever we traveled with Margie, she took time to stop and give oranges to the men and boys working on the highway.”

-Al Meyer


In this recital, there were nine dances from two companies.  These girls (and boy) gave their hearts while dancing and you could tell. Right before their performance, Karla gave a good pep talk to the girls, to help them understand why they were there and what it all meant. (Translated from what she had said):

“Tonight’s performance is for one of our founders; a woman that took a lot of pride in the center.  We are here dancing for her and I would like you to show it.  Now, I know all of you are too young and never met her, but Sister Margie was a very special woman.  She was an inspiration and a woman that we all care a lot for.”

With that speech in their minds, these girls gave it their all.  They all had bright smiles and every movement had a purpose. They danced their hearts out in different styles such as: folklore, güegüense, contemporary, and more!! Everyone worked so hard in coming together and putting on this spectacular night!

 

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