Long-term volunteers chose to experience Ometepe in all her seasons and possibilities. Jim Starrs spent 7 months teaching English in Balgue’s high school. Jim insisted that his volunteering not deprive a Nicaraguan of a job. The community, in turn, insisted that they contribute to the arrangement by housing and feeding him and doing his laundry.

Kim and Ela Esterberg lived in Balgue for 4 months, helping to build the Casa Comunal and communal garden. And water engineer James Templeton and Dr. Reena Koshy committed their professional skills to water systems and health clinics. It is a matter of debate who benefits more from these exchanges, the community or the volunteer who is so warmly accepted into a new family.

In later years, other long-term community volunteers included Adri Van Bianchi, Alexis Bonoff, Jeremy Shapiro, Nora Ferm, Caitlin Goertz, Arianne Llewellyn, Anne and Amy Jordon, Peter Abrahamson, Ashley Edens, David Adler, Siri Kushner, Devon Sampson, Kari Lagerloef, Katy Childers, Jim Starrs and Jackie Finkler, Linda Tanner, Russell Carroll, Maggie Petit,Charlie Kubin, Elizabeth Ward—plus maybe Sheila Kelley and Marina Heppenstall,