Coffee Fields & Los Germines in Jinotega
In search for a new community partnership to bring to the University of Michigan, I traveled to Jinotega, Nicaragua with three fellow board members to evaluate a community based agency, Outreach 360. This organization managed education-based programming in the community. We planned and instructed two formal English classes each day in addition to two formal health education classes.
I was slightly heartbroken to not be serving older adults, however I enjoyed demonstrating how germs are spread by playing hand-clap games with glitter glue. Although we loved our time in Jinotega with Outreach 360, we decided to partner with Friends New England (fne) in Chacraseca. Upon evaluation, our relationships in Chareseca enabled more creative problem solving and more direct contact with community leaders to fuel our projects.
Throughout my time in Nicaragua, I understood sexism and ascribed gender rolls as they intersected in an entirely new cultural context. Sexual violence and abuse in Nicaragua and the genderized roles that are difficult to break are more than apparent, especially among the communal living spaces the seasonal work coffee farms provided. Fortunately, the Jinotega community is doing something to combat cases of sexual violence in their region. The “Yo Te Creo” campaign is part of a greater social movement called “Movimiento Contra el Abuso Sexual”, or “Movement Against Sexual Abuse” that was created shortly after President Daniel Ortega was reinstated. This movement is made up of organizations and people dedicated to reshaping machismo's status in culture to spread awareness and stop instances of sexual violence. When asked if this campaign has been impactful, Alma, our community leader, stated that there have been positive outcomes, since the organizations work on a community and individual level to educate residents and find solutions to the problem.
Selva Negra, Matagalpa is a large organic farm and ecolodge we were able to visit. These photos are from the communal kitchen where families are fed 3 meals each day. The second photo displays Selva Negra's sustainable practices as every bit of the coffee berry has a purpose in this ecosystem. The inner-most shell acts as fuel to burn a fire and heat food and water. The burning shells produce minimal smoke which limit health risks for kitchen staff.