Welcome to Sister Communities of San Ramón’s first-ever blog (and, incidentally, my first-ever blog entry)! The idea for this blog emerged from our need to have greater communication with our contributors in the States about what’s going on in San Ramón. That’s why we’ve decided to use this outlet to give updates on our projects, profiles of the San Ramónians that work with us, and glimpses into what life is like here in this small Nicaraguan community. We’ll also include news about what our sister communities in the States are doing, and how you can get involved.
To begin, I think it’s a good idea to clarify what we mean when we talk about the community of San Ramón. San Ramón is the name of a town, and that town is considered the “head” of a municipality, also called San Ramón. You could compare a Nicaraguan municipality to a county in the States, with the town serving as the county seat. The town of San Ramón has a population of approximately 5,000, and the entire municipality has around 45,000 people. (These number are based on estimated population growth since the last census, which was in 2005). The total area of the municipality is about 164 square miles, most of which is rural farming communities. SCSRN concentrates its efforts in the rural part of the San Ramón municipality, so for us, the San Ramón community is the entire municipality.
The other community we talk about is the one in the States. SCSRN began in Durham, North Carolina, but over the years people from many different cities have gotten involved with our organization. For this reason, we use the word “community” in a wider sense, to include all of those folks in the U.S. who participate in our efforts in San Ramón.
Part of the mission of SCSRN is to promote education in both communities, the one in the States and the one in San Ramón. In San Ramón, we do this by supporting educational projects proposed by community members; in the States, we do this by organizing school exchanges and cultural immersion- and service-based visits to San Ramón. We are constantly working to find new and better ways to promote mutual understanding and support between these two communities.
My hope is that, through this blog, the folks of the U.S. community will grow to appreciate this small Nicaraguan community and have a desire to get to know them better. In many ways, the people of San Ramón are very different from people in the U.S. Most of them cook their food over a fire, wash their clothes by hand, and eat the exact same food every day (rice and beans). But in other ways, these two communities are very similar. Just like folks in the U.S., the people of San Ramón share jokes with their friends, argue with their spouses, and worry over their kids. I hope that this blog helps you to discover not only what distinguishes us from each other, but also what connects us.