Announcing Katia and Nina Cardenal in Concert - Saturday, Sept 22!

Katia and Nina.png

Dos Pueblos and the West Park Church present Katia and Nina Cardenal live in concert, the evening of Saturday, September 22nd. The most beloved female musical artist of Nicaragua, with 23 albums both as the Duo Guardabarranco with her late brother Salvador and solo, Katia returns to NY with her daughter Nina, to present enchanting songs of compassion, ecology and social justice. This will be Katia's first show in New York in over 20 years.

The concert will begin at 7:30pm at the West Park Church, 165 W 86th St.

To purchase tickets, please visit https://katia-cardenal-ny.eventbrite.com

Statement on the current crisis in Nicaragua

Dear Friends,

The board and staff of Dos Pueblos have been following the crisis that exploded in Nicaragua in April closely. We're deeply concerned by the events of the past few months, and condemn the violence being perpetrated against innocent civilians and non-violent protesters. We stand with other members of the international community requesting an end to the violence, and a national dialogue to determine the future of Nicaragua.

The good news is that all of our Dos Pueblos friends and colleagues are managing as well as they can, doing their best to negotiate this difficult time.

The bad news is that the civil unrest and resulting repression and violence have affected the Dos Pueblos community in various ways. 

  1. Four members of the ArcoIris youth group in Tipitapa could not travel to New York this summer, despite the efforts of Dos Pueblos donors to bring them here. The US Embassy stopped issuing visas for almost all Nicaraguans. This was a great disappointment for all of us.
  2. Due to the crisis, many businesses have closed, and many workers have lost their jobs. Some of the ArcoIris youth group are very concerned about how they will feed their families in the coming months. The Dos Pueblos Board has started making plans about how to distribute money for food in the case of food shortages.
  3. Some ArcoIris youth have been able to continue with their college work with online classes, but the large public universities have been closed since April 16. So the students attending those institutions have not attended classes for many months now.

As of now there hasn't been a sustained and open dialogue with the government and various opposition groups. We hope that these groups will agree to meet and set a course for their country. In the meantime, we can do what we've always done: support our friends and partners, listen to them and give help however we can.

Thank you for making our spring gala a hit!

Last month, the Dos Pueblos community gathered for our annual Spring Gala

Held at El Taller Latinoamericano on the Upper East Side, we enjoyed the silky sounds of Salsa music courtesy of Casa Mantequilla, homemade rice and beans, beautiful art and items for auction, and a tribute to our longtime friend Mariana. Fresh in our minds was the recent violence and instability in Nicaragua, as well as the tumultuous political climate in the United States, making the importance of our work and our solidarity especially potent.

Moving testimonies were made by several teen delegates, our Executive Director, and members of our community. We remain committed to the friendship between our cultures and to working towards building a better world, together.

Daniel Giraldo, a Dos Pueblos delegation alum, explains why the work we do is so important.

Many thanks to our hosts, band, supporters, and volunteers! The evening would not have been the same without you. We, Dos Pueblos, the Tipitapa-New York Sister City Partnership, would not be the same without you.

Youth delegates Vera Topcik and Lucas Giraldo read letters of appreciation for our 2018 Gala Honoree, MaryAnn Giraldo. The letters were written by Dos Pueblos Program Coordinator, Rosa Gomez, and the ArcoIris teens in Tipitapa, Nicaragua.

Dispatches from the February 2018 Youth Delegation

Our Youth Delegation Coordinator, Heather Topcik, shares some of the highlights of the February delegation trip!

Community workshops

We went to the American Nicaraguan Foundation (ANF) to participate in the different workshops that the ArcoIris kids run for the surrounding community. We broke up into three groups: the sewing workshop taught how to sew simple cloth bags (many using pedal sewing machines!); the woodworking group made large puzzles out of thick corrugated cardboard that will be used as teaching tools for developmentally disabled kids; and the "bio-dynamic" crew helped with the organic garden. (It is so dry here that each bed takes 8 cans of water, a process that took nearly all day. They are working on an irrigation system, but that will take a lot of time and effort.) There was even a group that got to put on "bee suits" and visit the bee hives that are the cornerstone of this whole enterprise. There are classes on the art and science of beekeeping, woodworking workshops on how to build the hives, and a lab teaching how to make products (creams, lip balms) out of beeswax, and to harvest honey to sell. We harvested some honey and ate it straight off the frame. It was really inspiring to see these AI kids doing their work -- they are all community leaders, or training to become one.

 

The value of service and exchange

We set out at 8:00 a.m. to paint the Chilamatillo library with a sealant to protect the adobe. It's a small building and we had all the kids working, so it didn't take very long. While trips like these are often described as "service trips,” the reality is that we aren't here to offer our superior woodworking and adobe skills! What happens here is much more profound: a sustained intercultural exchange where we are really learning about the grassroots community development projects that our ArcoIris counterparts work on every day.  It is really inspiring to see these Nican kids develop the leadership skills that are making a difference, and finding ways that we can support them and learn from them.

 

Cultural excursion to Granada

After a lunch of chicken, gallo pinto (a mixture of beans and rice that we eat at almost every meal) and tostones, we did our best to wash up at the school  - this involved an untold number of baby wipes - and change our clothes to head to Granada for dinner. Going from Chilamatillo to Granada takes only about an hour, but is a completely different universe.  Granada is an beautiful colonial city that hosts an International Poetry Festival each February. The last day was on Saturday, so it was particularly festive. We had a couple of hours to wander around the center of town. The kids all climbed the bell tower, we visited the craft market, and then had the good fortune to come across the sound check of one of Nicaragua's most famous and beloved singers, Carlos Mejia Godoy!  We had front row seats to the rehearsal and it was fun to see all the locals taking selfies in front of the stage.

 

Marvin Salazar Water Project

This community of roughly 100 families (or about 1000 people) dug a well and organized to make it a communal enterprise. They have been working with Rosa Gomez (Dos Pueblos’ Program Coordinator, and a very skilled community organizer) for many years to develop this project -- just two years ago the well had a simple hand crank. We heard from women who had spent several hours a day pumping and transporting buckets of water to their homes. Now, the well has an electric pump, funded by the Dos Pueblos community. We’ve also planted trees around the pump house. In Phase Three of this project, the community will install a water tank that we already raised funds for - in November on Giving Tuesday -  which will expand access to the water supply. One of the women talked about how unconvinced she was at the beginning of the water project, and that she was sure it would never work. She then took us to her home to show us that she had running water. It was a powerful moment, witnessing our collaboration at work!

 

Learning from a poet

We drove into Managua where we had been invited to the home of Ernesto Cardenal, one of Nicaragua's most most famous poets who served as the Minister of Culture from 1979 - 1987.  Our group originally learned about Cardenal when we visited an exhibition at NYU in New York on the community he formed in Solentiname in the 1960's. Cardenal was a priest and Solentiname was a contemplative and artistic community that felt compelled to take up arms against the Somoza regime in the revolution.  He has remained an important voice in the political and cultural life of Nicaragua and at 93, is still active as a poet and sculptor. So we were thrilled to be invited to his home, where all 40 of us filed into his living room while he told us about his life, his poetry and answered questions.

 

San Marcos and the Pacific coast

I'll let the photos speak for themselves...

Dos Pueblos Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement

Help Us Raise $3000 for Potable Water in Rural Tipitapa!

Dos Pueblos is proud to participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 28, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the US and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

#GivingTuesday kicks off the holiday giving season and inspires people to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. With our campaign, we are building upon our five-year relationship with Marvin Salazar, a community in a rural part of Tipitapa with very limited resources.

In 2012, Dos Pueblos and other partners built wells to provide access to clean drinking water in five different communities in Tipitapa, including Marvin Salazar. As the next step, we installed an electric pump that benefited 200 families in this community. Inspired by our water sanitation work and the desire to make a difference, a Dos Pueblos teen delegate donated her bat mitzvah money to provide trees as part of the reforestation phase this year. Now, for the final phase of this project, we’re raising $3000 to install a water tank so that residents can safely store potable water.

Dos Pueblos has been working on clean water in Tipitapa from a time when most communities there had no electricity and could only use hand-cranked pumps. As they got power, we began working with them to replace their hand pumps with electric pumps, and contributed to community efforts digging trenches and laying pipe to create small distribution systems to communal spigots, and then to individual houses. We also assisted some communities to upgrade from small electric pumps to larger ones, to deepen their wells, and more. Our work has improved access to potable water for over 8,000 people in Tipitapa.

A huge part of this process depended on our local program coordinator, Rosa Gomez, who developed the organizing capacity of the water committees in each community. Recently, our community partners identified the installation of storage tanks as the next phase of development. We hope that you will join us in supporting this community-led initiative!

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