Community Dispatches

Remembering Peder Kolind

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 10.02.07 PM

I met Peder Kolind in November 2006 during a trip to Nicaragua to report on the Presidential elections. It was my first trip there and I was pretty much lost until Peder graciously invited me to dinner in the building on Calle Atravesada where he had his museum of pre-colombian ceramics. I knew little about him until his Danish guests produced an article from a Danish magazine naming him Denmark’s Bill Gates for his humanitarian work. The next evening I visited his  program at Carita Feliz and saw first-hand the staggering commitment he had made to helping thousands of abandoned street kids in Granada. Subsequently my wife, Julie, and I visited at least once a year, always bringing potential donors in the expectation that they would help various non-profits in Granada. Continue Reading →

Returning dust storms are affecting children’s health

dust storm

TELICA — This time of year, the only relief from the dry heat of northwest Nicaragua is an occasional breeze. But recently the winds carried something dangerous: massive clouds of dust that blanketed the town of Telica and the surrounding area. When the dust storms ended after several days, their effects came into focus. Dust had swept into hundreds of homes. Local hospitals treated children for pneumonia, allergies, and respiratory ailments. Continue Reading →

Meet the head-spinning b-boys and b-girls of Leon

The B-boys of Leon

LEON, Nicaragua — As sunset approaches, Leon’s central plaza explodes with music and dance, but not the typical Central American folkloric kind. A crew of break dancers and rappers shows off “power moves,” spinning on their heads, contorting their bodies, and shooting their legs into the air. The dancers, who range in age from about 15 – 30, call themselves “b-boys” and “b-girls” — break-boys and break-girls. They are the vanguard of a break dancing hip-hop movement that has spread across Nicaragua in recent years. As traffic roars around the plaza, a crowd of curious onlookers gathers around the gazebo where they perform. Continue Reading →

A happy Sunday in El Sauce, León

11233776_10205560295478406_3397440322181987081_n

El Sauce has had a relationship with Rochester New York for many years. In 1988 Dr. Arnie Matlin, a pediatrician from the Rochester area, started a scholarship program and a home for high-risk pregnancies in El Sauce. Other programs, including the 4Walls Project, followed. The 4Walls Project / Proyecto 4Paredes builds houses for people who don’t have them. It began in 2007 with the little idea that maybe people from the United States would give a few dollars to help build brick houses for people who were living in plastic or cardboard ones. Continue Reading →