Moscow Sister City Association Newsletter

January 2020

This newsletter was sent via the City of Moscow on behalf of the Moscow Sister City Association. This newsletter was written by Moscow Sister City Association authors and may not necessarily reflect the views of the City of Moscow.
In this issue:   

  1. Cruise the World, February 1
  2. Dave Peckham visit to Villa El Carmen, December 2019
  3. Glimpses of local people
  4. People of Villa El Carmen
  5. The political situation

1. Cruise The World

Saturday, February 1, from 11am to 4pm, the University of Idaho will hold its annual Cruise the World program in the International Ballroom of the Bruce M. Pitman Center.

This event includes display tables, food, dances and other performances from all around the world. It’s a kick for kids and adults. If you can attend, be sure to visit our table. And we need volunteers to staff the table. If you’d like to help, please send a note to

Presentation at Cruise the World
Display table at Cruise the World

2. Visitor to Villa El Carmen

In December, Dave Peckham, formerly of Moscow and known for his devotion to providing bicycles to third-world countries and teaching bike maintenance, visited Nicaragua. He went by bus from Granada to Villa El Carmen one day and was able to talk with the mayor and the school superintendent, while observing the use of bicycles in the area. He took some photos:

Yerlan Sequeira, one of our scholarship students
The young man is Yerlan Sequeira, one of our scholarship students who recently graduated university with a degree in finance and is now the accountant in the mayor’s office. He is sorting Christmas toys sent to the community by the Ortega government.
Ruby Rigby, former English teacher and current superintendent of schools.
The woman is Ruby Rigby, former English teacher and current superintendent of schools.

“As I was waiting for the bus,” Dave writes, “11 men in identical day-glo green shirts passed by on bikes, all in good condition, one brand new.  I was told they worked for the hacienda up the road about 2 km, cutting sugar cane.  The hacienda also grows grain and cattle.  The other big employer, I was told, was a slaughterhouse that processed about 500 head of cattle per day.  The bus came before any more men in day-glo would pass by on bikes.”

The mayor mentioned to Dave that the municipio (county) Villa El Carmen has 25 km of Pacific ocean shoreline, wondering if we (sister city) might be interested in helping developing it. Whatever the mayor had in mind, it’s an interesting thought. See next item.

3. Ecotourism Possibilities

The major asset, economically, of Villa El Carmen is probably its 15 miles of shore-line on the Pacific. That area has one upscale resort named Gran Pacifica and a series of beaches and considerable forest area.  I don’t know who owns what, but in an area of Villa El Carmen (the county) labeled a nature reserve and evidently owned privately, some people have been trying to develop an ecotourism business. A few years ago, projects originating at Tufts University and Villanova University attempted to help develop ecotourism in the Villa El Carmen area, but both universities’ projects appear to be defunct. And the uprising that began in April 2018 devastated this attempt at ecotourism, called Reserva Silvestre Quelantaro, along with the tourist industry throughout Nicaragua. But this is an area and a business that has the potential to strengthen the community. Quelantaro still exists as a part-time operation.

In 2015 the online magazine El Economista described “an ecotourism circuit that offers sun and beach, wildlife reserves, archaeological sites, sea turtle observation and gastronomy, among other proposals. The circuit  . . .  includes much more than traditional sun and beach tourism, and also rural, sustainable and rural tourism adventure. The Quelantaro reserve is one of the main nesting sites of the Tora turtle in Nicaragua, considered an emblematic species in danger of extinction, . . . Although this circuit has not been supported by any tour operator, its members since 2010 have had the challenge of positioning it.” [; tr. by me and Google Translate]

Though I’ve been to Villa El Carmen four times since 2007, no one has ever mentioned this project, though I have been shown petroglyphs in a cave. 

Petroglyphs in a cave

But next month I’ll be in Nicaragua and I plan to explore this area (which I learned about just last year). There may be something here that Moscow people might be interested in, might even want to visit some day.  

4. A quick look at three young people from Villa El Carmen

Bianka Águilar

This is Bianka Águilar, who recently graduated high school, here being honored as an outstanding student in a ceremony. She is the younger sister of one of our scholarship students.

Yanci Espinoza

Yanci Espinoza, one of our scholarship students, recently graduated in business administration, is recently married and lives in Managua.

She sent this note: “Quiero adjuntar mi titulo ya lo recibi gracias  a Dios y a todos los hermanos de Moscú por ayudarme a conseguir un sueño un anhelo mas de mi vida gracias y que Dios les bendiga a todos.”

“I want to acknowledge that I received my degree thanks to God and to all the brothers and sisters of Moscow for helping me to achieve a dream, one more yearning of my life; thank you and may God bless you all.”

Jacziri Flores Rodrigues

This is Jacziri Flores Rodrigues, 
One of our scholarship students,  
who is finishing her studies this year 
and hopes for a career in business 
and finance. The dog looks a little unusual for 
the climate – too much fur. But he or she is in
good hands.

5. National Developments

The government remains firmly in power, thanks to the efforts of the national police in pursuing dissidents, and thanks to President Ortega’s near-total control of the national legislature and judiciary. The independent press is limited mostly to social media but has a large presence on YouTube et al. Different opposition organizations are trying to establish their identities while working toward a unified national coalition that can challenge the current administration in 2021. At present there is no dominant opposition leader.

Officers of Moscow Sister City Association;
                Dave Barber, president (and newsletter editor)
                Lubia Cajas Cano, vice-president
                Amy Garwood, secretary
                Jim Reece, treasurer
                Elisabeth Berlinger, board member
                Linda Christenson, board member  
                Cindy Magnuson, board member
                Susie Wiese, board member

Dave Barber 

MSCA Mailing Address:
PO Box 8367
Moscow, ID 83843

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