Alumni Spotlight: Ann looks back on her trip to Nicaragua

I still remember most of my experience in Nicaragua. From staying at Casa and working on the school, it is amazing what I still remember after 5 years. A particular memory that I am extremely fond of is of our first night staying with our families. I remember sitting down with them and talking with them. Since we were unsure of what to expect of our families, we had some questions prepared to ask them as conversation starters. To my surprise, we did not have to use them at all. We shared stories about our lives in Canada and they shared their stories about their life in Nicaragua. It was a chance for me to see how much we had in common even when we lived so far away.

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8 ways Casa Managua supports community development in Nicaragua

By: Ashley Rerrie, Country Director

Casa Managua, the Casa – Pueblito Casa in Managua, is crucial to the functioning of Casa – Pueblito in a number of ways. From having a home base to facilitate and monitor our community development projects to providing a space where community members, young Canadians, and travelers interested in social justice can meet, collaborate and learn from each other. Here are eight ways our Casa is making a difference in Managua...

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On International Women's Day...

March 8th was International Women's Day. As a woman and a proud feminist, the day was important to me. Nevertheless, I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to say about it. Lately I've been feeling angry and helpless about the state of the world, particularly being bombarded by negative news from the US and the attacks on women’s rights happening worldwide. However, I also think it’s important to say something, as a black woman in a leadership position of a solidarity organization here in Nicaragua.

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From the Field: Six Months in Managua

By: Ashley Rerrie, Country Director

I moved to Nicaragua as Casa – Pueblito’s Global Education Coordinator a month after I finished my Master’s degree; my graduation actually happened in October while I was here. These past six months have been a huge learning curve and really taught me what a lot of the theories I learned in grad school look like in practice. One of the people who has taught me a lot about what development, community organizing, and empowerment look like in practice is Yamileth Perez. Yamileth always stresses in her talks with our Global Education delegations about how her neighbourhood isn’t poor, but rather impoverished; impoverished by global systems of capitalism, consumerism, imperialism, and oppression. She reminds me that poverty is created and maintained by those in power. But she also reminds me of the resilience of Nicaraguans, and how sometimes, even the act of surviving and thriving in spite of systems that oppress you is an act of resistance.

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What I Learned as a Latinx Youth Leadership Camp Facilitator

By: Tania Cruz-Sanchez, Casa - Pueblito Education Assistant, Summer 2016

It has been an awesome experience being one of Casa-Pueblito’s Education Assistants this summer. The role consisted of designing, planning, promoting, implementing and monitoring a Leadership day camp for Latinx youth. The Leadership Camp had a variety of interactive and engaging activities; from trust-building ice-breakers to exploring themes of power and oppression through mini skits and discussions, all provided by our dynamic interns and education assistants. The best part of being part of this camp, was perceiving a sense of growth from the youth participants and the meaningful connections that were made between participant members, facilitators and guest speakers. 

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Intern Sinead's Final Blog Post

         The rainy season in Nicaragua falls between May and November.  This year, the first few months of the rainy season delivered a disappointing amount of rain. Its dry start has served to ominously remind many Nicaraguans of last year’s 4-month drought, one of the worst Central American droughts in decades. Last years drought heightened food insecurity, increased the economic disparity of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, and negatively affected the agricultural sector by reducing crop yields. My community was not severely affected by last year’s drought but the drought did decrease the community’s agricultural productivity and caused food prices to increase in city markets in the months following the drought. For example, in the markets of Masaya and Granada, the price of a litre of red beans by the end of 2014 had reached more than double what it had been at the beginning of the year.

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Intern Sinead's Second Blog Post

Two weekends ago, I had the privilege of going to Casa Canadiense headquarters in Managua to attend a presentation given by Michael O'Sullivan, a professor of education at Brock University, and his two research assistants (one of whom is Ashely Rerrie, the other Casa Canadiense intern in Nicaragua this summer). His presentation was about the research he and Harry Smaller are conducting, research governed by the primary research question, "In what ways, both positive and negative, are host communities in the Global South impacted by International Service Learning initiatives?" 

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Intern Ashley's Second Blog Post

I sat on the floor, camera in hand, waiting. Most of the crowd behind me had already cleared out, as it was getting late and rainy. The kids walked onto the stage, dressed in their uniforms and costumes – girls with woven baskets and long white skirts, boys with wooden machetes and woven hats. They all took their places: guitar in hand, standing behind the marimba, or on opposite sides of the stage, waiting to start. My heart was in my throat – I was nervous for them. 

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Meet Sinead: Our Intern at the UCA Tierra Y Agua Cooperative

My name is Sinead Dunphy. I’m a 19 year old student who recently completed her second year of undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto. I have always been passionate about learning other countries, peoples and cultures, about the Global “North” “South” relationship and about grassroots development work. This internship has given me the opportunity of immersing myself in Nicaraguan culture and community, has given me the privilege of living with and learning from the people of the community of La Granadilla, and has given me the chance to see and participate in a relatively new agro-ecological project that the community of La Granadilla, and UCA Tierra y Agua, has started to promote food and environmental security and sustainability. I am grateful and excited!

Meet Ashley: Our Intern at the Christine King Cooperative

ashleyrerrier

Ashley Rerrie is a Masters student in the Development Studies program at York University. At 22 years old, Ashley has a passion for social justice, solidarity, and Nicaragua. Her research interests at York include community development and relationships of solidarity between the Global North and Global South. She enjoys knitting, travel, and food. This summer Ashley is working for three months with one of Casa Pueblito’s partner communities in Esteli, Nicaragua: Cooperativa Christine King. At Cooperativa Christine King, she helps out with dance and art classes for kids aged 3-9 and works with the ISIS project which travels to different communities to give seminars on self-esteem, sexual and reproductive health, and domestic violence prevention. Ashley is excited to be back in Nicaragua for the summer so that she can get her hands on rosquilla and tortillas. Her Twitter handle is @amrerrie.