Bainbridge group needs an office worker…in Nicaragua

The Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Island Association is looking for an adventurous islander to help run its on-the-ground operation in Nicaragua.

BOSIA has several programs that support education and health care on Ometepe, a coffee-growing island in Lake Nicaragua.

Titled “office volunteer,” the position includes airfare, housing and a small stipend. Work starts in July. Conversational Spanish is a plus.

Here’s more information from BOSIA President Jeanne Huber:

The Bainbridge-Ometepe Sister Islands Association is accepting applications for a paid staff position on Ometepe island in Nicaragua for one year beginning in July.

The organization, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year, operates entirely with volunteers on Bainbridge. But it has three paid staff members on Ometepe, an island of two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. The office manager, Dora Gutierrez Traña, is an English teacher who works for the sister islands association part time. Another Ometepe native, Maria Estela Alvarez, is the scholarship coordinator. The third position, called “office volunteer,” is reserved for someone with a connection to Bainbridge Island.

The association provides airfare, housing and a modest stipend. Applicants need to have decent Spanish, be at least 21 years old, and be able to commit to working on Ometepe for one year. Many office volunteers have been recent college graduates interested in careers in international development, food policy, or other fields that benefit from having a deeper understanding of another culture. There have also been office volunteers well along in their careers who decided to take a break and do something completely different for a year.

Many Bainbridge residents do not know that this opportunity exists. Anyone who is interested in learning more can contact Jeanne Huber, the president, at (206) 780-1246.

This organization has enriched lives on Bainbridge Island and its sister island in Nicaragua in many ways. The sister islands association buys Ometepe coffee for a price that’s substantially above the fair trade price, sells it at Town & Country Market and elsewhere, and sends the profits back to pay for projects suggested by communities there. Dozens of latrines, several school libraries, and many other projects have been funded this way. Bainbridge third-graders have also funded many projects by making and selling calendars.

Each year, families on Ometepe welcome Bainbridge high school students into their homes, and the students gain a new world view. Likewise, Bainbridge families host Ometepe English teachers, who get a chance to practice their language skills as they experience a different culture. The organization sponsors a college scholarship program that links families on Bainbridge to the top graduates of each of the nine high schools on Ometepe. For only about $1,000 a year, Bainbridge families pay half of the students’ college costs, and in return the students send frequent letters about their progress and interests. It’s a real one-on-one exchange that benefits both sides.

The organization also sponsors health projects and teams up with businesses and other organizations on Bainbridge to support projects on Ometepe. For example, the Traveler store donates money that buys library books for schools on Ometepe. Grace Church supports a literacy program for young children.