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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 bataholavolunteers@gmail.com. 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!

Paz,

Kelsey & Erika, November 2014

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The word that comes to my mind is overwhelming

Thank you Bryanna Maxey, IHM Parishioner and McNick Student, for sharing your reflection on your 2015 trip to CCBN!

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“If people were to ask me how was my trip, I would respond with complete honesty. My response would be that this trip to Nicaragua was hard for me. Don’t get me wrong it was one of the best times I have ever had in my life, but it was extremely difficult for me to see that vast poverty of the country. The word that comes to my mind is overwhelming. How is it possible for people to live like this? It breaks my heart to see anyone living the way that most people are in Nicaragua. However, my heart breaks even more for the children living in the poor conditions. These children are not getting the proper nourishment or education and it makes me realize how blessed I truly am. My bedroom alone is bigger than some people’s entire home. The poverty was just very hard for me to see. It’s not like it was only in one part of a city, but it was everywhere you look. I just want to be able to help these people even if it is something very small. This trip definitely opened my eyes not only about how I am currently living my life, but most importantly, how I want to live my life in the future. This trip helped me to fully recognize how much I love to serve others. Even though I am still not sure what I want to do with the rest of my life, this experience has shown me opportunities I didn’t even know existed. This trip made me realize that the rest of the world is much different than the bubble the U.S. is in. This just makes me want to be able to go anywhere I can in the world to help the people who need it most. I want to be able to leave this earth and say that I made it a better place in some way than before I got here. I don’t expect to save the lives of hundreds of people, but if I can truly help at least one person on this earth, I would call it a successful life. This trip makes me want to go on more like it and maybe even potentially go on a 2 year service trip. I definitely have a lot to think about regarding my future. No matter what, I want to choose a career that is centered around helping and serving others. It doesn’t matter if I own nothing, if I can serve others and meet these amazing people my life would be amazing. I don’t even necessarily have to do something globally. There are people in my own community who suffer greatly. One small action or project could surprise me and become something much greater that will not only benefit me, but will benefit the people who need help and want a better life. Yes, this trip was difficult, but it was eyeopening and I can’t wait to see what the future holds because this past week will definitely factor into the decisions I make.”

 

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