The Sister Islands Association is an all-volunteer organization on Bainbridge, but we do have a small paid staff on Ometepe, including several part-time specialists.
Manager: Dora (“Dorita”) Gutierrez Traña
Dorita has been our office manager since 1999. She juggled these duties with teaching English at the high school in Altagracia for many years, until she retired from that job in February 2021. Dorita works with community members on Ometepe to develop project proposals and to carry out the projects funded by our organization. She is a superb cultural ambassador who helps people on both of our islands understand one another. She has visited Bainbridge Island seven times.
Scholarship Coordinator: Santiago Triguero
I was born in Sintiope, but I live in Urbaite. The first time that I heard about BOSIA was a project that the organization supported in the primary school in Sintiope. Later when I started working as a teacher in la Paloma, the parents were working in the school with a project supported by the organization. One year later, in 2003, I began teaching in Merida, where I worked in some projects supported by the organization, such a sports court that was being built. The principal of the Robert Drew High School told me the history of my school, that the name is to honor one member of Bainbridge for all the support to the school. One year later, I was invited by the teacher, Jose Efrain Gonzalez, the head of the high school in that moment, to belong to the local scholarship committee. In 2003 Robert Drew High School had the first graduation and I had the opportunity to meet Maggie Drew, a wife of Robert Drew, who was at this event.
From that time, I belonged to Robert Drew High School Scholarship Committee, and in 2006 I was selected to be the treasurer of the committee and I still working in the same position. In 2008 I was selected to visit your beautiful Bainbridge Island on an English teacher delegation. It was one of my best experiences in my life.
Now, I am working as a coordinator of the scholarship program. It is a big challenge, but I am completely sure that with help of God and the staff members we will go forward.
Sign Language Interpreter: Claribel Gutierrez
My name is Claribel Gutierrez Ruiz, and I am a single mother of a young boy. I because a sign language interpreter for BOSIA after they invited me to apply for the position.
While I was studying in high school, I always loved to go to BOSIA’s sign language workshops with students from all over Ometepe.
In my final year of high school, I applied for a scholarship through BOSIA to continue my studies to become an interpreter. Thanks to the Special Needs Committee, headed by Dale Spoor, I received a scholarship that helped me pay for my university fees. When I finished my studies, I always told myself that I would help people who have the same disabilities that I have. I started working in 2016 as a sign language interpreter for five deaf high school students in Altagracia. (They graduated in December 2020!)
My favorite part of my job is when I joke around and chat with the students during their recess. I also enjoy when the students get to make handicrafts or make some sketches in their natural sciences classes. I like how well the students behave in class; they always respect their teachers and classmates. In their physical education class, I have a lot of fun because I get to participate in the exercises and games alongside the students, both hearing and deaf.
I have never visited Bainbridge but hope to do so one day!
Special Needs Coordinator: Francisco Hernandez
I have a degree in Diplomacy and Political Science, and I am completely blind. I first became involved in BOSIA when Jonathan Roise, who was the coordinator for the organization Si a la Vida at the time, introduced me to Kim Esterberg during the 20th anniversary celebration of BOSIA. We shared a conversation, which resulted in the first time that I was introduced to a Braille typewriter.
Presently, my job is to work in the sector of special needs on Ometepe, with objectives such as teaching Braille and informatics classes, giving organizational tools to people with disabilities, and carrying out projects on behalf of BOSIA. My goal is to break down the barriers that impede our development and dignity, so that we can execute our rolls as accomplished people.
I visited Bainbridge in 2016 during the 30th anniversary to commemorate the sisterhood between the two islands. My favorite part of my job is proposing new ideas. In my free time, I enjoy reading.
Sexual Abuse Psychologist: Karla Varela
I am a psychologist in the municipality of Altagracia. I am married with three children – two daughters and one son.
I received a scholarship from BOSIA and finished my degree in 2007. In 2014, I earned a specialization in helping survivors and victims of sexual abuse and child abuse.
I traveled to Bainbridge with a delegation of Ometepinos in 2001.
I work in a program with BOSIA to prevent child abuse, which is a taboo topic for people in this region. It’s a very interesting and important program for the people of Ometepe and has reached the entire island. I work in two areas: health and education. I work to raise awareness among doctors, nurses,and medical brigade members throughout all of Ometepe.
I hold group therapy sessions with survivors of sexual and child abuse, and attend to a variety of abuse cases.
In terms of education, I work to raise awareness and prevention of sexual abuse. One way of involving high school students in this topic is through art projects that relate to sexual abuse, and having the students share them with students from other schools.
From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of myself and everyone affected by sexual abuse, I would like to thank those who make this program possible. Lots of people have been able to join their voices together to be able to talk about their sexual abuse, many of which have had these voices buried since their childhood. Thanks to this program, these people are able to break their silence.
On behalf of all of us, I send you all a big hug.
Contacting our office
The office is on the main street in Altagracia. In keeping with the Nicaraguan custom of citing addresses as distances from key locations, the office is del juzgado, una cuadra y media al norte (from the judge’s office, 1½ blocks north). The phone number from the United States is 011-505-2569-4428. On Ometepe, it’s 2569-4428.
Postal mail can be sent to Islas Hermanas, Apartado #20, Isla de Ometepe, Moyogalpa, Nicaragua. Bainbridge Islanders who are writing to a friend in care of our office should write the name and town of the recipient on an inner package. You can include several of these letters in one large outer envelope.
Ometepe residents who want to write to friends on Bainbridge can leave letters at the office.