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Nicaragua Solidarity Project 2013 Itinerary



In Solidarity with Nicaraguan Grassroots Organizations

The College of New Jersey: Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL)

Educational Immersion Program

June 2-13, 2013

Group Leaders:

Mary Lynn Hopps & Emily Bent

In-Country guides: Laura Hopps & Oscar Mayorga

Emergency Contacts:

In Nicaragua

Laura Hopps

Cell: (011-505) 8464-6184 or (011-505) 8637-6441


Oscar Mayorga

Cell: (011-505) 8894-3943


Quaker House, Managua: (011-505) 2266-3216


ProNica St. Petersburg Office:

Melissa Ajabshir, Executive Director: 727-821-2428

WILL Itinerary


Sunday, 6/2: Day 1

Arrival in Nicaragua

  • 8:30pm: Arrive in Managua
  • Drive to Quaker House (30 min)
  • Settle in to Quaker House, brief orientation



Monday, 6/3: Day 2:

Nicaraguan History and Visit to Historic Sites

  • 8:00am: breakfast at Quaker House
  • 9:00: am: Orientation and overview of program
  • 9:30: Leave for Center for Global Education
  • 10:00: Talk with Mark Lester, historian and Co-Director of the Center for Global Education. Talk on Nicaraguan history, with particular attention to women’s issues.
  • 12:00: Lunch at Quaker House
  • 2:00: Tour of downtown Managua and Tiscapa historic site, site of the Somoza Dictatorship’s estate
  • 4:30: Change money in Linda Vista
  • 5:00: Dinner at Quaker House
  • 6:00: Group reflection time


Tuesday, 6/4: Day 3:

Women & Community Based Health and Education Initiatives

  • 8:00am: breakfast at Quaker House
  • 9:15: Depart for Acahualinca, nearby neighborhood located next to the Managua City Dump (La Chureca).
  • 9:30: Talk with Maria Elena of Asociación Mujeres de Acahualt, community-based health initiative that began in the 90s as a response to the high rates of cervical cancer deaths in the community of Acahualinca. The organization provides:
    • Women’s health services, including cervical cancer screenings
    • HIV testing
    • Sex education programs,
    • Contraception and tubal ligation program
    • A community pre-school
    • Advocacy for domestic violence survivors, including a new a domestic violence shelter under construction
    • Support for LGBTQ groups
    • Outreach program with sex workers
    • Part of the national Network of Women Against Violence, and a national task force on human trafficking
    • 9:30: Talk with Acahualt Director Maria Elena, who will share the organization’s history, their current programs, and her personal testimony as a life-long activist for women’s health and women’s rights.
    • 12:00: Lunch at Quaker House
    • 1:45: Leave for the Centro Cultural Batahola Norte
    • 2:00: Tour of the CCBN, a community cultural center that began during the Revolution in the 1980s to provide educational resources particularly to women, to help them to learn technical skills that would aid them in the creation of small businesses. They also provide a comprehensive arts program for children and youth.
    • 4:00: return to Quaker House, down time
    • 5:00: Group reflection
    • 6:00: Visit from Nineth Larios, teacher at the CCBN and artist, who will share her artwork with us at Quaker House
    • 6:30: Dinner at Quaker House



Wednesday, 6/5: Day 4:

Children’s and Girls Rights: Visit to Los Quinchos program for Rehabilitation of Former Street Children & Abuse Survivors

  • 7:00: Breakfast at Quaker House
  • 8:15: Leave for San Marcos (45 min. drive)
  • 9:00: Arrive at San Marcos. Meeting with Carlos Vidal, Co-Director of Los Quinchos. He will discuss the social conditions that created the boom in street children in the 1990s, and will discuss the challenges that the girls in particular have faced, as well as techniques employed in the rehabilitation of traumatized children.
  • 10:00: Visit to boy’s farm, home to 45 boys between the ages of 6-14, where the boys will give us a tour of the farm and show us their agricultural projects, where they raise chickens, rabbits, pigs, and other livestock.
  • 12:30: Lunch at the Hosteria, restaurant of Los Quinchos
  • 1:30: Visit to Las Yahosca’s girls program, home to 35 girls. The girls will give us a tour of their residence and show off some of their dance skills. Dance and soccer programs are the cornerstones of the Quinchos rehabilitation program, helping children to develop self-esteem and cooperation skills.
  • 4:00: Visit to Ismael’s home gallery. Ismael is a former Quincho and talented painter who has a gallery out of his home, and continues to give art classes to Quinchos kids.
  • 5:00: leave for Managua
  • 6:00: Dinner at Quaker House
  • 7:00: Reflection at Quaker House


Thursday, 6/6: Day 5: Leave for Matagalpa in the North

Strategies for Improving Maternal Health In Rural Zones & Women Empowerment Initiatives

  • 7:30am: breakfast at Quaker House
  • 8:30: Leave for Matagalpa (3 hour drive)
  • 11:30: Arrive in Matagalpa, settle in to Casa Materna Matagalpa ( Casa Materna is focused on reducing maternal and child mortality rates in Nicaragua. They work in conjunction with the government Ministry of Health to identify women with high-risk pregnancies from the rural areas, and provide for them at their residential center in the several days or weeks leading up to delivery. They provide ‘round the clock medical support to women at their center, and daily workshops on women’s health, family planning, domestic violence, breastfeeding and early childhood nutrition, among other topics.
  • 12:00: Lunch in Matagalpa
  • 2:00 Visit to Matagalpa Tour, where they sell local artisan items, including woven bags made by a local indigenous women’s collective
  • 3:00: Visit to Movimiento de Mujeres de Matagalpa, local feminist organization
  • 5:00: Group reflection at Casa Materna
  • 7:00: Dinner at Vita e Bella restaurant
  • Stay at Casa Materna


Friday, 6/7: Day 6: Home Stays in Martin Centeno Community, Rio Blanco, Home to Women’s Domestic Violence Network and Agricultural Cooperative

  • 7:00 Breakfast with women at Casa Materna
  • 8:00 Walking meditation with women
  • 9:00: Tour of Casa Materna
  • 11: 30: Lunch in Matagalpa
  • 1:30: Leave for Rio Blanco
  • 4:00: Arrive in Rio Blanco. Introduction by community leaders, and group goes in pairs to homestays in the community. We will be staying in the homes of women who are advocates for domestic violence survivors as part of the Casa de la Mujer de Rio Blanco anti-violence network.
  • 5:00: Dinner with families
  • Stay with families


Saturday, 6/8: Day 7:

Rural Anti-Violence Initiatives & Women’s Roles in Sustainable Community Development

  • Breakfast with families
  • 9:00: Talk at Casa de la Mujer Rio Blanco office to learn about the work of the domestic violence network. The organization has 4 core members, and more than 40 advocates in the surrounding rural communities, some of whom are certified as conflict mediators and have authorization by the Supreme Court as victim advocates to accompany survivors in court cases. They run a radio station focused on anti-violence initiatives, and workshops on the new Law 779: Law Against Violence Against Women.
  • 12:00: Lunch in Rio Blanco
  • 2:00: Meeting with Martin Centeno Rural Community Council. Members of the community were displaced during the Contra War of the 1980s. They were organized into a cooperative, and have since remained highly organized and focused on community organizing to improve living conditions. We will discuss the community’s history and the role of women’s leadership as a component of sustainable development
  • 5:00: Dinner in homestay families


Sunday, 6/9: Day 8:

Option to Visit Christian Base Community & Hike to Waterfall

  • Breakfast with homestay communities
  • 9:00: Service a community Catholic Church (optional). The group will have a chance to present itself to the local community and to share a message of encouragement. Women have a central role in preaching and organizing the services, which are conducted without the presence of a priest.
  • 12:00: Lunch with home stay families
  • 2:00: Hike to waterfall with community members
  • 5:00: Dinner with homestay families


Monday, 6/10: Day 9: Depart for Managua/ Meeting with Women’s Commission of the Police on Enforcement of Law 779 & Leading Feminist Voice on Current Women’s Issues


  • Breakfast with home stay families
  • 7:00am: Leave for Managua (5 hour bus trip)
  • 12:00pm: Arrive in Managua
  • 2:00pm: Meeting with police commissioner of the Comiseria De la Mujer, the branch of the police that specializes in issues of violence against women and children. She will speak on the Law 779, how it is being enforced, and how the Nicaraguan police are approaching women’s issues, and domestic violence prevention and prosecution in particular.
  • 4:00: Meeting with Maria Teresa Blandon at Corriente Feminista, leading figure of the Nicaraguan feminist movement. She will speak about women’s issues in Nicaragua today, including the total ban on therapeutic abortion, girl’s rights, the Law 779, and LGBTQ rights.
  • 6:00: Group Reflection
  • 7:30: Dinner at Quaker House


Tuesday, 6/11: Day 10: HIV/AIDS & LGBTQ Issues/ Trip to Masaya Volcano

  • 8:00am: Breakfast at Quaker House
  • 9:00: Meeting with Nimehuatzin at their office. Nimehuatzin is an organization focused on HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ rights in Nicaragua. We will hear about their programs, and what they are doing at a community level to raise awareness about Sexually Transmitted Infections by examining traditional gender roles and transforming machismo.
  • 12:00: Lunch in Managua
  • 2:00: Depart for Masaya Volcano and artisania market (30 min drive)
  • 5:00: Depart for Managua
  • 5:30: Group Reflection
  • 7:30: Dinner at Quaker House


Wednesday, 6/12: Day 11: Relaxation Day at Volcanic Crater Lake, Laguna de Apoyo

  • 8:00am: Breakfast at Quaker House
  • 9:00: Depart for Granada
  • 10:00: Boat tour of Isletas of Granada
  • 11:00: Depart for (nearby) Laguna de Apoyo, volcanic crater-lake. Bring bathing suit, towel, your journal, a good book and lots of sun screen. You can swim, kayak, hike, and relax
  • 12:00: Lunch at the lake
  • Relaxation
  • 4:00: Leave for Managua
  • 6:00: Final Group Reflection
  • 7:00: Dinner at Cocina de Doña Haydee


Thursday, 6/13: Day 12: Departure

  • 8:00 am: breakfast at Quaker House
  • 9:00: leave for airport
  • 12:14pm: departure