Friends of Batahola Volunteers (FOBV) is searching for volunteers to accompany the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte for two years beginning in the summer of 2015!

Our program brings two young people from the US to live live in community and work in the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte (CCBN) in Managua, Nicaragua. 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:

Friends of Batahola Volunteers is a program that brings two young people from the U.S. to live and work in Nicaragua for two years. 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 Kelsey and Erika are involved in include:

– 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 supports us?

Friends of Batahola Volunteers is supported by two organizations: Volunteer Missionary Movement and Friends of Batahola.

Volunteer Missionary Movement is an ecumenical Christian nonprofit organization that provides volunteers with:

 – Medical and life insurance, including 3 months of medical insurance after completion of service

– Monthly stipend

– Pre-departure orientation

– Visa expenses

– Spanish language training

– Annual retreats with other volunteers in Central America

– Re-entry stipend upon completion of service

Friends of Batahola, a not-for-profit organization that provides resources for the growth and sustenance of the Cultural Center Batahola Norte, also supports volunteers, paying rent for the volunteer house (located adjacent to the CCBN) and helping volunteers with various program costs.

Who We Are Looking For:

Two 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.

– Actively connected to a Christian community and in accordance with the values of Volunteer Missionary Movement and the CCBN

– 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.

How to Apply:

Send a letter of interest and your résumé to Feel free to e-mail us with any questions throughout the process!

After reviewing these documents we’ll send you an application.

Follow-up Skype or phone interviews will be conducted in English and Spanish with eligible candidates.

We will be receiving applications until February 28th, 2015.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Kelsey & Erika, November 2014

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Making tortillas

Tortillas have been a staple of the Nicaraguan diet for centuries. Within a 5 block radius of my house in Batahola, there are at least 4 tortilla stands where you can buy delicious fresh off-the grill tortillas. And they’re not the kind you buy at the grocery store in the States, either. For starters, they are made of corn, and are much thicker and more flavorful. Having fresh tortillas with my breakfast every morning is definitely one of the things I’ll miss most when I leave Nicaragua

When Doña Amanda, who has been the host mother to several generations of Batahola volunteers, offered to teach me how to make tortillas, I was thrilled. Last Saturday, I walked over her house with a bag of maseca (corn flower). Doña Amanda learned from a neighbor when she was a girl, but no one else in her family can make them. Below are Doña Amanda’s instructions for making tortillas.

You will need:

Maseca (NOTE: traditionally, tortillas are made through a more complicated process involving boiling corn kernels, but today many people use maseca)


Comal (a round griddle used for making tortillas)


A rag

A plastic bag, cut into 2 squares

Cloth for wrapping tortillas



Place the comal over the stove and use the rag to dab a small amount of oil on it. While the comal is heating up, pour the maseca into a bowl, and gradually add water while mixing with your hands until it has a soft, moist texture.

Then, form the dough in to balls about the size of a tennis ball. Place the ball on top of the plastic squares and begin pressing it down with your hand. Then, place one hand on the side to form the edge and your other hand to continue patting down the tortilla until it’s about 1-2 cm thick.


When it is ready, place the tortilla on the comal. After about 2 minutes, flip the tortilla over.


Once it has cooked for a minute or two, use a wet rag to press down on the tortilla. When it begins to bubble up, you’ll know it is ready. Wrap the tortilla in a cloth to keep it warm. Enjoy with a plate of gallo pinto and cuajada (Nicaraguan cheese).

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