“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Meade
“Bainbridge is one small island, but we stand with our sister Ometepe, as an example to our human family of the hope that can prevail with an awareness of human suffering, social injustice and the great unfairness in distribution of resources. Our example also affirms the many lessons we learn from each other.”
— Kim Esterberg
“We proved so many people wrong [who] thought that little kids couldn’t make a difference or see the big picture. Even though the kids on Ometepe are so far away, I still feel very close to them.”
— Stella Wilson, 3rd grader in 1999
The sister islands’ relationship between Bainbridge and Ometepe began in 1986, when dozens of Bainbridge Islanders funded Kim Esterberg’s trip to Nicaragua in search of a sister island. Kim envisioned a long-term relationship, based on mutual respect and trust, which would grow and deepen over time through many different types of exchanges.
One short-term goal was that the peoples of our two islands would learn about each other directly, bypassing the propaganda of both governments during the Contra War. The long-term relationship would provide an opportunity for us, our children and our grandchildren to develop lifetime friendships across language, cultural and economic lines.
In 1988, after three more visits by Bainbridge Islanders to Ometepe, the Bainbridge Ometepe Sister Islands Association (BOSIA) was incorporated “to encourage mutual understanding, education, friendship, cultural and peaceful exchanges between the people of Bainbridge Island and Ometepe Island, and between the peoples of the United States and Nicaragua.”
Our written philosophy expanded to include “We help with projects which are initiated by groups on Ometepe and which are important to the community rather than to individuals or one family. We are non-partisan and non-sectarian. Working together we learn about each other and derive mutual benefit. Keeping this process in place helps prevent us from seeing ourselves as “do-gooders” and helps our partners on Ometepe to not see us as “patrones.”
To learn more about our history, scroll through our blog-style news feed.
You can also peruse the archive of our printed newsletters, which we published from 1997 to 2018.