¡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:

Meet Lily, the New Intern!

Hello Everyone! My name is Lily and I am the new Development and Communications Intern with the Dos Pueblos organization.  I am truly grateful and excited for this opportunity to work with such an inspiring and welcoming team.  As the new intern, I will be working under the guidance of Lupe on many projects and activities but primarily the event planning and outreach, foundation research, and managing the social media and database sites.

I am currently a graduate student at The New School for Public Engagement pursuing my Master of Arts Degree in International Affairs with a concentration in development.  Eager to join the many New School alumni at this organization, I am hoping that I can provide any useful ideas and skills that I have learned with the Dos Pueblos community.  Apart from studying for my degree, I also work for the English Language Studies Department at the New School.  In my free time I enjoy following in my father’s footsteps by taking photos, taking in the city culture, undertaking new adventures, and travelling as much as I can.

Dos Pueblos to me, is an excellent opportunity to truly make an impact on the lives of others.  I am thrilled to work for a non-profit that is dedicated to the improvement of the living standards of the people of Nicaragua.  Personally, I feel that growth and development comes from the individual needs and wants of the people who have been greatly impacted by poverty.  Everyone deserves clean water, proper nutrition, an education, healthcare, and so forth.  These are luxuries that most of us Americans have and I feel it is my responsibility to assist those in need and lend a hand where I can.  I believe that with appropriate communication, respect, and understanding of diverse communities and cultures, our society can positively aid and improve the dire situations of others.

Many people ask me how I got interested in International Affairs and development.  I think that came from the values that my family instilled in me.  My family and I emigrated from the very poor, disorderly country of Bulgaria when I was pretty young.  Watching my parents work so hard to give me the opportunities they never had was very humbling and inspiring. They encouraged me to be respectful, compassionate of others, and to be understanding and moved by the different and beautiful cultures surrounding us.  I had the ability to travel a lot when I was younger, learning more and more about this fascinating world we live in.

Eventually, I knew that I was meant for a greater good, some way to help others.  Learning about the tragedies and hardships going on in the world really affected me.  I became very interested in conflict studies and in particular, genocide.  I was appalled and greatly moved by the atrocities occurring all over.  With the implications involved in politics, I decided the most reasonable and rewarding way to go about helping those enduring such hardship was through the development route.  And now here I am!

That’s all about me!  Thank you everyone for having me on board.  I look forward to meeting all of you at Dos Pueblos and I hope to discover more about the people of Tipitapa and their path to success and happiness.



Meet Our New Intern!

To the inspiring Dos Pueblos community:

I’d like to introduce myself as Dos Pueblos’ new Development & Communications Intern! I’ll be working with Lupe, Helen, and the Board over the summer months on grant applications and appeals, as well as outreach and social media (perhaps you’ve already seen our new Twitter account!) and anything else they may need as Dos Pueblos works to extend its great work to new communities.

A little about me: I’m an International Development student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, as well as a journalist and yoga instructor. The story of my passion for international development may sound familiar to many of you: it all began in Nicaragua.

When I was fourteen, I went down to Nicaragua on a service trip with Bridges to Community, an organization very similar to Dos Pueblos. Working alongside a team of Nicaraguan masons and community members, my group built two houses and laid pipes for the organization’s new water project.

It was an experience like no other. The poverty that I saw there shook me to my very core, and I couldn’t imagine leaving the people I had come to love so much. I felt inspired and discouraged all at once: by the end of the week, two families had safe, sturdy, and secure homes which they could proudly claim as their own, a huge improvement to their standard of living. And yet, these homes were probably only a bit larger than my bedroom, and there were thousands of families who still lacked proper housing.

The culture shock I felt upon my return was also daunting, as the next night I attended an extravagant, over-the-top sweet sixteen. To say I was horribly disappointed and disillusioned with my peers would be an understatement. Over time, however, I came to see alternatives to such cynicism. I told as many people as I could about my trip to Nicaragua, trying to communicate just a fraction of what I had seen and experienced there.

And I kept going back. Over the next four years, I went to Nicaragua six times, working alongside familiar faces and learning something new every time. In my junior year of high school I even led one of the trips myself.

My experience with Bridges to Community was a wonderful introduction to sustainable development. Local committees dictated community needs, local people were empowered to start their own businesses and projects through microfinance, and through cross-cultural exchanges volunteers were inspired to promote change in their own communities at home. In short, it was about solidarity, not charity.

It is because of these qualities – sustainability, community ownership, and collaboration – and the people who believe in them so strongly, that I was drawn to Dos Pueblos. My first day on the job was the day of the Spring Fundraiser, and the mixture of passion, solidarity, and joy in the room was infectious. I look forward to learning more about Dos Pueblos’ great work over the next few months, and to getting to know many of you better, whether online through blog posts and social media or in person.

That’s all for now—you’ll hear from me soon!


Annie Shiel