Zoe’s Bat Mitzvah Garden is Planted in Tipitapa!

During our February 2016 trip, U.S. youth delegate Zoe Sepsenwol learned that wells are protected when they have trees around them. Her father, Jonathan Sepsenwol, and his friend, David Haber, had supported the upgrading of a water source in one of Tipitapa’s poorest settlements. Zoe became determined to follow up after she returned from Nicaragua by raising $500 for her Bat Mitzvah and donating it for planting fruit trees and other soil- and water-protective plants around the well in the Marvin Salazar community. With know-how and labor from community members and the Arco Iris youth team, our Nicaraguan partners waited until the rainy season started in May, the right time for planting. Look at the results!

The entire Arco Iris team chipped in to plant 18 citrus trees and 18 banana and palm trees.

The entire Arco Iris team chipped in to plant 18 citrus trees and 18 banana and palm trees.

Among the clusters of plants are 18 citrus trees and 18 banana and palm trees. The Nicaraguans are thrilled with the idea that 18 signifes “life” in the Jewish tradition, as water is truly a source of life. The project nicely complements our theme of cross-cultural communication about religious traditions this year.

I visited the community in February 2017 before this year’s delegation arrived, and saw once again how this water project has made an enormous difference in the lives of the people in this community with very limited resources. Another exciting aspect of this project is a new collaboration with the Arco Iris team. Joselyn Urbina Corea, an Arco Iris teen, has been active in gardening and tree- planting both at the Dos Pueblos library in Chilamatillo and at her high school. She saw Zoe’s project as an opportunity to take on additional responsibilities, so she is using her gardening skills and growing tremendously as a leader through this project. We’re so proud of the hard work and accomplishments of both of these young women!

Joselyn (right) helps oversee Zoe's reforestation project in Marvin Salazar.

Joselyn (right) helps oversee Zoe's reforestation project in Marvin Salazar.

Meet our 2017 Summer Intern!

Paloma Perez

               "Social Media Intern"

 

Hello Everyone! My name is Paloma Perez, I am from Dominican Republic and I'm the Social Media Intern for the summer, I hope to be helpful to Dos Pueblos. I was immediately drawn to Dos Pueblos and excited to be a part of it. I wrote to Juan Martinez of Dos Pueblos because it reminds me of the work I did in my country, helping poor communities. One of those events that I remember was during our weekend, my family and I voluntarily worked in the church. As in visiting poor communities cleaning houses, bringing food, activities for kids. I am currently enrolled in an ESL program at City College. My plan for Dos Pueblos is to update the website, manage Dos Pueblos social media accounts and collaborate on what they need me to do.

I'm so excited to be working with Dos Pueblos and share with others the importance of being  a volunteer. I know that the social media is the way to get your message and your cause out to the public.

Sincerely,

Paloma Perez

NicaNotes: Ortega Wins Big in Presidential Contest

Published by the Nicaragua Network, a project of Alliance for Global Justice!

NicaNotes is a blog for Nicaragua activists and those interested in Nicaragua, published by the Nicaragua Network, a project of the

Alliance for Global Justice. It provides news and analysis from the context of Nicaragua Network’s long history of struggle in solidarity with the Sandinista Revolution.


This article from the blog Informe Pastran, although written early in the counting, provides an excellent overview of the election. With 99.8% of the polling stations ballots counted, Ortega increased his lead to 72.5%. On Monday, a US State Department spokesperson declared the United States “deeply concerned” about what he called “flawed elections.” Since an August spate of editorials and op-eds in the US corporate press, it has been obvious that that would be the position the US would take. The invited international election accompaniers, mostly electoral experts, had a different view in the article translated into English below. – Chuck Kaufman


President Ortega Reelected with More than 71% of the Vote

65.3%of electorate participated based on valid votes says Supreme Electoral Council (CSE)

The first preliminary report of today’s general election, presented after 11pm by the Supreme Electoral Council in plenary, that the electoral participation was 65.3% of the electorate, which is to say an abstention rate of 34.7% which is 10 percent more than the historical level of 25% in past elections. 3.8% cast null votes with 21.3% of the votes counted in a little more than 14,000 polling places.

The results in the ballot for president from the 21.3% are:

Sandinista Party (FSLN) – 71.3%
Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) — 16.4%
Conservative Party (PC ) – 2.6%
National Liberal Alliance (ALN) – 1.1%
Alliance for the Republic (APRE) – 4.1%
Independent Liberal Party (PLI) – 4.5%

In the vote for National Assembly deputies there are surprises [the FSLN legislative ticket ran behind the president], with 19.8% of ballots counted the percentages are as follows:

FSLN – 60%
PLC – 17.7%
PC – 3.9%
APRE – 5.1%
ALN – 1.3%
PLI – 4.9%

Chief Magistrate of the CSE Roberto Rivas said that the people of Nicaragua participated actively, likewise the political parties conducted a civil campaign, quiet and uneventful. He is to release another bulletin within half an hour and the full count tomorrow [Monday].

Sandinista supporters launched themselves into the streets to celebrate in the Plaza of Victories in Managua with a caravan of vehicles and motorcycles and, once the first report by the CSE was completed, set off rockets and firecrackers in different parts of the capital.

Nicaraguans voted on Sunday in elections in which President Daniel Ortega had no serious rival and was expected to comfortably win a third consecutive term driven by an environment of progress that has neutralized allegations of authoritarianism.

Support for Ortega and is wife and running mate, Rosario Murillo, was around 70%, according to the polls, thanks to their successful social programs and a better business climate in one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

The voting stations closed at 6pm in an exercise without incidents in which thousands of citizens exercised their right to vote.

The president has promised to defend the gains of his “socialist, Christian, and solidarity revolution” under which he reduced poverty by 13 percent in the last decade, said officials.
“On this day we are ratifying our our commitment to peace that has cost our people to win. Much blood has flowed, much pain,” said Ortega as he voted. “This is a vote for peace, for stability, for security for Nicaraguan families,” he said.

Clean Process, Say Electoral Accompaniers

Election accompaniers, who were invited by the CSE, told the media that the elections today were transparent, orderly, in peace and tranquility and tolerance. They saw high levels of citizen participation in the various municipalities to which they traveled, especially in the afternoon, said Paraguayan Senator Francisco Pereyra.
He said they found a lot of maturity in the Nicaraguan people and a lot of discipline at voting time.

Meanwhile, Sixto Peña, an electoral expert from Costa Rica, said that the notable progress they found was that there were no incidents during the voting and that this is an important advance in Nicaraguan democracy because citizens behaved in a civil manner.

Salvador Ramos, a Dominican Republic electoral expert, valued the high level of participation of women and youth in the political life of Nicaragua. “In all the voting centers, there are women. And I also saw a good turn-out at the voting centers. Women are well integrated in to the political process and to the strengthening of democracy,” he said.
The expert Raul Alconada, stated that that the integration of women and youth in the whole electoral process is an important measure of the consolidation of Nicaraguan democracy. “What has impacted many of us who are participating in this tour of Managua, is seeing the great participation of youth. It comforted me to see young people,” he said.

Alvaro Saenz of the National Alliance Movement of Ecuador stated that he was able to see in Nicaragua organizational capacity and a very complete voter registration list and a very orderly preparation of infrastructure and polling places. He added that he had visited several polling stations and found voters moving, voting in an orderly and tranquil manner that contrasts with media noise, and that they saw a normal, regular electoral process; a very smooth operation.

The former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, stated that the process witnessed in Nicaragua today was historical, beyond the skillful process, because a socio-political process is unfolding here, because people are going to the polls to protect their social victories. He also said the Nicaraguan people have matured politically and electorally, giving priority to peace, democracy and peaceful coexistence.

FSLN legislative caucus coordinator, Edwin Castro, told TV Noticias on Channel 2, that it was a civic election day betweenNicaraguan brothers and sisters and that the day was an election devoid of conflicts and quarrels, with high organizational capacity. He appreciated that there was more participation today than in previous elections and voters had a greater ability to vote quickly and easily.

On opposition calls to not vote, Castro rejected an alleged 80% abstention rate and challenged them to ask Nicaraguans who has an inked thumb and who does not, because it is easy to speak from a hotel room and promote the strategy of the no vote toward an international audience than it is within Nicaragua where the majority of Nicaraguans want to live in peace.

Castro said that after these elections, advice and alliances will continue to keep changing Nicaragua and defeat the real enemy which is poverty and social exclusion.

Divided Opposition Hurriedly Declares Victory

Citizens for Freedom (CPL), led by former PLI National Assembly deputies, and the Broad Front for Democracy (FAD), led by the MRS, and former allies of the CPL, proclaimed victory based on a supposed high abstention rate.

CPL claimed that 80% of voters stayed away from the polls while FAD claimed an abstention rate of 70% and said it was thanks to the boycott calls they made over the last three months. [The actual abstention rate was about 35%.

Despite this, the FAD-MRS insisted that the elections were a farce and a constitutional fraud, ignoring the popular will expressed at the polls, stating that there was a civil disobedience led by them and that therefore the elections were null and void and new elections must be called immediately although the Constitution and Electoral Law do not allow for it. They called on the population to take to the streets to demonstrate.

US Congresswoman Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, interviewed before any official results were in, nevertheless asserted that the elections were fraudulent and that only the NICA Act she is sponsoring will ensure the “restoration of democracy in Nicaragua.”

A Huge Success in Marvin Salazar!

Our latest water project in the community of Marvin Salazar has been a great success! Working closely with the leaders of the community, we supported the installation of an electric pump that brings water to the homes of 200 families, benefitting about 1000 people. Projects like this one not only have health implications by providing families with clean water, but also social ones, as the system brings water directly to the homes of community members and women are no longer required to spend their days retrieving water from the well.

The community faced a small hiccup in directing electricity to the well since it is not in a densely populated area. However, with a letter of support from our volunteer coordinator Rosa Gómez, the water committee spoke to City Hall and resolved the issue. This is a great example of what can come from organization and collaboration.  Cooperation between the Arco Iris team, Marvin Salazar leaders, Tipitapa’s City Hall and CAPS, the organization of water committees on a national level, allowed the project to overcome challenges and run smoothly.

Reflections on Teen Work in Tipitapa and at Home

By: James Nightengale, Teen Board Member

Four years ago, I went with my dad to a small informational meeting hosted by the mother of a girl I barely knew, about a trip to a country I'd never heard of. Little did I know that that would mark the beginning of my incredible relationship with Dos Pueblos and the community we have created around these youth delegations to Nicaragua. That first trip - the first time Dos Pueblos had ever sent an official delegation - was life changing for me. I became really close with my fellow delegates and was surprised and delighted at how much I bonded with the Nicaraguan teens. I adventured outside of my comfort zone and was rewarded with memories I will hold on to forever. What I didn't sense was that this trip would lay the groundwork for even greater trips that would go farther and achieve even more.

As the years went by, I saw the youth delegation reach even higher, creating change that resounded within the Tipitapa community. I've watched the Nica teens become more self-confident, happy, and heard stories about their plans for the future. There is something so unique about the connection between this group of New Yorkers and the group of Tipitapans that makes each delegation more powerful than the last. We are able to easily overcome the language barrier and instead focus on relating to one another through jokes about pop culture, playing games together, or sharing a day at the pool. Although I was unable to continue going on the delegations after the second trip, I have kept in contact with the teens and have heard the stories about every trip since. I participate in the Youth Board and help address any issues that may come up throughout the year as we prepare for the next trip. 

Being a part of Dos Pueblos has taught me what it means to be a human in an international context, how to make friends despite a difference in language, and has caused me to rethink what entitlement really means. Watching the small youth delegation of 2010 grow to a group of 40 in 2016 has been exciting and a privilege to be a part of. I look forward to the future of the delegation and know that things can only get better from here. 

Finding New Connections in Nicaragua

By Dylan Harris and Joey Propper, teen delegates ‘15

We became intrigued to go on a trip to Nicaragua because experiencing a new culture seemed essential to broadening our global horizons. The Dos Pueblos board talked about the strong connections they made with communities in Nicaragua, and how amazing it feels to immerse oneself in a foreign culture. We were sold. The minute we arrived in the capital Managua, we were thrown into speaking Spanish as soon as we unloaded our luggage. Our group mission was to have a meaningful cultural exchange with Nicaraguan teens and finish building a library in Tipitapa, a more rural town than the capital. We also went to visit Ometepe, a two-volcano island that featured something very amazing that we never experienced before—black sand. As New Yorkers, we were first struck by seeing only one-story buildings, but we soon observed how a more rustic and slower lifestyle made the Nicaraguans really value community and family. On this trip, our Spanish skills improved remarkably as we strived to connect with our new friends. We also learned something we did not know about ourselves living in New York—that we enjoy living and working as a group with a unified goal. What we most loved, and the reason we want to return, is the warmth and friendliness of the teens that we have gotten to know and now consider good friends.

Queremos volver pronto!

The PEACE Process : Working Towards Equitable Communities

Read about the challenges and rewards of the PEACE Process, and how it fits into Dos Pueblos' work in this informative piece by Paul Martin:

Texas Lutheran University MASA. From L to R Brendon Huron, Brittany Flores, Jacob Almaguer, Paul Martin, Jennifer Garcia, Professor Jennifer Mata.

By Paul Martin

I have been struggling to articulate and learn about efforts toward a (mostly theoretical) process of conservation and development of sustainable communities since the 1980s. Over time I have come to call these efforts: positively ethical applied community ecology*. Moreover, in my attempts to begin to get the rubber to meet the road toward facilitating the realization of this process, I have been working with Ogallala Commons in local community gardens along with other organizations.  I have especially enjoyed working with Dos Pueblos in New York—a model NGO—on this grassroots PEACE process that is humble yet comprehensive in achieving social and ecological justice and equity.

On Wednesday, April 8th, Lupe Romero Ramsey (Executive Director of Dos Pueblos-NY-Tipitapa, Nicaragua Sister City Project) and I were invited into a wonderful Mexican American Studies class at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas by Professor Jennifer Mata.  We began by getting to know the class and inviting them to express their current goals toward a life of equity for all, and how this has been informed by their class at TLU.  Then Lupe gave an overview of Dos Pueblos’ work in Nicaragua that improves access to health, education and environmental awareness, and her life in international development in building sustainable communities with people-centered approaches.

As a class we discussed the reasons for the process of regeneration and conservation toward a resilient, sustainable community and why it makes sense, the need for a bottom-up approach, and the challenges of developing confidence amongst all of the stakeholders including local leaders, the poorest and most disenfranchised.

With a focus on the local Seguin community, and to some extent community gardens, we invited dialogue from the students concerning successes and failures, and how we learn to succeed from our failures.  For me, this was particularly empowering and energizing.  The students of the class provided real world community reality for the theory—some of it sobering.  In fact one delightful student, Brendon, beautifully summarized the rewards of service to local community (All of these very pleasant students provided great input and feedback!) This empowerment and recharging for me was reinforced when I chatted with Brendon later in the week at his workplace in a local food market, and then ran into Profesora Mata (and her lovely family) unexpectedly on two other occasions that week in Seguin.  (These students truly made me wish I were “back in the classroom” again.)

Real and lasting relationships are highly rewarding yet challenging. This is truly what PEACE is about.  I will be forever be grateful for these relationships afforded to me by Lupe and Dos Pueblos, here in Seguin, Texas, and in Tipitapa, Nicaragua.

…………………..

*This is basically lowering the individual and collective ecological footprints of the haves, curbing population growth rates, empowering the have nots, and regenerating/conserving habitat for other species  … and realizing ecological economics.  More specific actions are rapid appraisals of community/local ecosystems, facilitating holistic participation, goal-setting/policy development/action plan realization, assessment and replanning.  Some necessary, and somewhat more specific actions include ecology across curricula & campuses of community entities, implementation of agroecology, use of appropriate technologies & processes, cooperatives, community supported agriculture, microenterprise financing, more native and perennial crops for agriculture, and appropriate governmental carrots and sticks.

Martin, P.B. and P. Prather. 1991.  Sustainable agriculture: a process at the community level.  American J. of Alternative Agriculture. 3(1)

Martin, P.B., K. Schantz and P. Sechrist. 2003.  Toward conservation and development of sustainable community (locally and globally).  Proc. Coloquio Internacional de Desenvolvimento Local, Universidade Catolica Dom Bosco, Campo Grande-MS, Brazil www.ucdb.br/coloquio/arquivos/Paul.pdf

The PEACE Process : Working Towards Equitable Communities

Read about the challenges and rewards of the PEACE Process, and how it fits into Dos Pueblos' work in this informative piece by Paul Martin:

MartinTX

 Texas Lutheran University MASA. From L to R Brendon Huron, Brittany Flores, Jacob Almaguer, Paul Martin, Jennifer Garcia, Professor Jennifer Mata.

By Paul Martin

 

I have been struggling to articulate and learn about efforts toward a (mostly theoretical) process of conservation and development of sustainable communities since the 1980s. Over time I have come to call these efforts: positively ethical applied community ecology*. Moreover, in my attempts to begin to get the rubber to meet the road toward facilitating the realization of this process, I have been working with Ogallala Commons in local community gardens along with other organizations.  I have especially enjoyed working with Dos Pueblos in New York—a model NGO—on this grassroots PEACE process that is humble yet comprehensive in achieving social and ecological justice and equity.

 

On Wednesday, April 8th, Lupe Romero Ramsey (Executive Director of Dos Pueblos-NY-Tipitapa, Nicaragua Sister City Project) and I were invited into a wonderful Mexican American Studies class at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas by Professor Jennifer Mata.  We began by getting to know the class and inviting them to express their current goals toward a life of equity for all, and how this has been informed by their class at TLU.  Then Lupe gave an overview of Dos Pueblos’ work in Nicaragua that improves access to health, education and environmental awareness, and her life in international development in building sustainable communities with people-centered approaches.

 

As a class we discussed the reasons for the process of regeneration and conservation toward a resilient, sustainable community and why it makes sense, the need for a bottom-up approach, and the challenges of developing confidence amongst all of the stakeholders including local leaders, the poorest and most disenfranchised.

 

With a focus on the local Seguin community, and to some extent community gardens, we invited dialogue from the students concerning successes and failures, and how we learn to succeed from our failures.  For me, this was particularly empowering and energizing.  The students of the class provided real world community reality for the theory—some of it sobering.  In fact one delightful student, Brendon, beautifully summarized the rewards of service to local community (All of these very pleasant students provided great input and feedback!) This empowerment and recharging for me was reinforced when I chatted with Brendon later in the week at his workplace in a local food market, and then ran into Profesora Mata (and her lovely family) unexpectedly on two other occasions that week in Seguin.  (These students truly made me wish I were “back in the classroom” again.)

 

Real and lasting relationships are highly rewarding yet challenging. This is truly what PEACE is about.  I will be forever be grateful for these relationships afforded to me by Lupe and Dos Pueblos, here in Seguin, Texas, and in Tipitapa, Nicaragua.

…………………..

*This is basically lowering the individual and collective ecological footprints of the haves, curbing population growth rates, empowering the have nots, and regenerating/conserving habitat for other species  … and realizing ecological economics.  More specific actions are rapid appraisals of community/local ecosystems, facilitating holistic participation, goal-setting/policy development/action plan realization, assessment and replanning.  Some necessary, and somewhat more specific actions include ecology across curricula & campuses of community entities, implementation of agroecology, use of appropriate technologies & processes, cooperatives, community supported agriculture, microenterprise financing, more native and perennial crops for agriculture, and appropriate governmental carrots and sticks.

Martin, P.B. and P. Prather. 1991.  Sustainable agriculture: a process at the community level.  American J. of Alternative Agriculture. 3(1)

Martin, P.B., K. Schantz and P. Sechrist. 2003.  Toward conservation and development of sustainable community (locally and globally).  Proc. Coloquio Internacional de Desenvolvimento Local, Universidade Catolica Dom Bosco, Campo Grande-MS, Brazil www.ucdb.br/coloquio/arquivos/Paul.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

¡Misión Cumplida! : 2015 NY Youth Delegation Home from Building a Library in Tipitapa!

The 2015 NY Youth Delegation has returned from their Feb. 13-22 trip to Nicaragua. This was the third consecutive Youth Delegation trip undertaken by Dos Pueblos. A group of 17 Youth Delegates and 5 Adult Chaperones, under the leadership of General Counsel Susan Light, Chair Ann Garvin, and Board Member Arlene Tolopko, participated in a busy schedule of cultural exchange and service activities while in Nicaragua.Our delegates hauled, sawed, nailed, sanded, painted, varnished, and completed the final stages of construction and inaugural celebration of the first lending library in San Benito, a community in the Tipitapa Municipality. The library was built with adobe compressed earth blocks made by community members. Inside the library there is a beautiful mural, designed and painted by a collaboration of youth/teens from NYC and Tipitapa. The mural features the Earth encircled by two rainbow arms with clasped hands, flanked by the Nicaraguan and US flags. In Nicaragua, our delegates collaborated with the Arco Iris Youth Team in Tipitapa as well as with students from Saint Dominic’s School in Managua. As part of the trip, the delegates brought 1250 lbs. of books (for the existing and new libraries); school supplies, art supplies, and sports equipment that can be used by the entire community. In addition, boxes of fabric and ribbons were donated to a local women’s sewing cooperative. At the end of the trip the group visited Ometepe, an island in the middle of beautiful Lake Nicaragua, home to two active volcanoes, many organic farms, and habitat for the much beloved Howler Monkey.

Congratulations to the Youth Delegation on a very successful trip! ¡Enhorabuena, chicos!

2015 Youth Delegation

The mural in the San Benito Lending Library

San Benito Lending Library

The Youth Delegates

Watch Our Youth Delegates in Action!

  Have you ever wished you could experience Tipitapa from the viewpoint of our Youth Delegates? One of our 2015 delegates, Caleb Berman, created a video using footage from the 2015 Youth Delegation trip to Nicaragua. In this video you can witness the final stages of construction of the San Benito Lending Library, fun times with our Nicaraguan friends, and the formation of strong friendship bonds. Check out Caleb's video here:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4Jw8Tnx87c[/embed]

 

An evening with Juan González

On November 10th, Dos Pueblos (the NY-Tipitapa Nicaragua Sister City Project) is honored to host an evening with award-winning journalist, author and co-host of Democracy Now! Juan González speaking on the current state of immigration in the United States.

gonzales_juan300-300x199
 Image provided by: Williams College

Juan González is ideally equipped to address issues such as:

  • Why the influx of child migrants from Central America includes many Hondurans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans, but very few Nicaraguans.

  • How immigration from Latin America is driven by failed US foreign and trade policies.

  • The politics of comprehensive immigration reform in this electoral season.

A hard-hitting columnist for the New York Daily News since 1987, Juan González received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences and wrote Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America.

This event will be held at the landmark West Park Presbyterian Church located at 165 W. 86th St., at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue, New York 10024, an institution with a history of working for change and transformation in NY and the world.

 

Register for this event at Eventbrite.com by clicking here.

Meet the new intern: Laine Mackey

Laine  Hello everyone! My name is Laine Mackey and I'm the Social Media Intern for the summer. I was immediately drawn to Dos Pueblos because it reminds me of the work I did as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia (2011-13). Dos Pueblos' dedication to human rights, environmental awareness and social justice make this an ideal organization to work with. I am currently enrolled in graduate school at The New School. I'm seeking an MA in International Affairs with a Media and Culture concentration. I look forward to enhancing the presence of Dos Pueblos on social media. This summer I plan to update the website, manage Dos Pueblos' social media accounts, and expand our support base through increased exposure on the internet. 

The picture above was taken during my time as a PCV in Namibia. The adorable girl in my lap, Naledi, was born the first week I arrived in my village. This picture was taken on the day of her baptism (hence the cute pink dress). The dress I'm wearing reflects the clothes of the tribe I lived and worked with, the Damaras. Fun fact about Damaras: they speak a Khoisan (click) language called Khoekhoegowab. Being a Peace Corps Volunteer taught me so many invaluable things, but what stands out the most is the importance of sustainability. This is why I am so excited to be working for Dos Pueblos. This organization's commitment to improving social conditions and collaborating with the community is evidenced by its successes and longevity. I look forward to spreading the mission and work of this organization.