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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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Sister Margie Monday!

So for this Monday, I wanted to give a personal story of Margie as told by a woman that used to work in the center and that still is inspired by her everyday.

A couple of Fridays ago we didn’t have power so I went and visited my Nica mom Doña Kony!! Just a quick back-story: I came to Nicaragua to volunteer for a month and stayed with Kony for the month.  Even though my Spanish was horrible, somehow she has become my best friend here. She has taught me Spanish, patience, and so much more.  After letting me take a quick snooze in her hammock, she offered me lunch and began to tell me an amazing story!

So how I tell this story is how she told me in Spanish and then I tried to translate it the best I could for you all. Also, she DOES know that I’m sharing this story! She was delighted to share it with you all.

When Her Daughter Jenny was in the Father Angel Torres Chorus, Sister Margie was still alive and well. One day Dona Kony used to be very timid and shy and saw Sister Margie walking from the center to her house every day.  One day she had worked up the courage to say hello to Margie, greeting her as she walked by.  Sister Margie stopped and began to talk with Dona Kony.  They spoke about the center and how  close Dona Kony’s house is, it was very convenient!

 

“I’ll tell you what.” Says Sister Margie “Would you like to work at the center? Would you like a job?”

Dona Kony looked to the ground and said, “Oh, I don’t know about that.”

“How about you come to the center tomorrow morning and we’ll get you started? I will see you there at 9 o’clock sharp.” Margie said to her as she said goodbye and went on home.

In shock, Dona Kony thought about it and showed up to the center, nervous/excited and ready to see what Sister Margie had in store for her. When She came, she told Dona Kony that she would help clean the center and take out the garbage.  Dona Kony was happy to do it and content to have a job and contribute to her family.

After some time at the center, Dona Kony had gotten to know the community and all who made the center one family.  Later on, she and Sister Margie had a conversation resulting in the question of “You know how to read and write no?”

After answering with a ‘no’ Sister asked her if she wanted to join the Primary Education Class for Adults!  So excited, Dona Kony began studying and completed all 5 five years of her studies at the center.

As time flew by, Dona Kony had to stop working due to health issues at the center but still was a part of its community. She began making her own ice cream and selling it to her beautiful barrio (neighborhood) to continue supporting her family.

I’m not sure when this happened but, another thing that Margie helped Dona Kony with was suggesting changing her patio into rooms for people to stay in.  These rooms would become a home to many people/students, memories of a beautiful Nicaragua and a meeting place for the Friends of Batahola.

Just from saying hello on the street so many years ago  changed this woman’s life but she will never forget who that hello went to for the rest of her life.  Sister Margie touched her life just as she touched so many lives of others in the center.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful story and want another because the next one will be coming out soon!

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