The Salud y Vida Team
Corrin Berg- Founder/Director
Corrin Berg is a Registered Nurse living her dream, a mountain life in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and a beach life on the pacific coast of Nicaragua. She considers the small coastal community of Finca del Mar her second home with the community members her second family. She is passionate about helping others, especially in the way of helping them to help themselves through the power of education. She founded Salud y Vida in 2013 when she flew to Los Cardones Eco Lodge with 2 suitcases of medical supplies, a lesson plan and a passion for helping others.
Corrin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Southern Connecticut State University, and an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training from Northeastern University. Corrin feels passionate about the work she is able to do. She often shares her experiences through speaking engagements with fellow nurses and nursing students stating “start small, but be excited to start”.
Anne-Laure Sitton- Director
Laure is our treasured local counterpart. Our eyes and ears, she's the person that puts all our plans into action on the ground. Her dedication to create a positive impact in the communities surrounding Los Cardones Eco Lodge spurred the vision to introduce health education in 2013. She is truly being the change we wish to see in the world!
Laure has been a resident of Playa Los Cardones since 2001 where owns and operates Los Cardones Eco Lodge within the community of Finca del Mar. She loves to surf, practice yoga and spend time with her family. She shares her life with her husband Izic, who is a visionary and local surfing legend, and her three children, funny and witty Shabti, super athlete Caoba, and darling daughter Velze. Before starting Los Cardones Eco Lodge she was a Corrosion Engineer with a Bachelor of Science from Ecole des Mines d'Ales (France) and Master of Science from Florida Atlantic University.
When asked to share what her favorite part of working with Salud y Vida is, she replies, “I love to see the reactions of people as they attend the training. At first they are merely curious, quickly they show intense interest and soon the light turns on: they ask questions, they understand the issues and how to address them, they clearly feel empowered to take care of their own health and that of their family. The Salud y Vida trainings are a very special gift to our community.” She talks about the impact of Salud y Vida, “It seems to me that the biggest outcome has been to change people's perception of their health. Health used to be a mysterious force that only doctors understood. Now, people understand many common health issues and they know how to take care of them.”
Travers Smith- Director
Travers is the ideas in the sky guy and the on the ground support system. At Los Cardones Eco Lodge he is a "stoke broker", surf instructor by day, slinging cerveza Toña by night. He has been supporting and building Salud y Vida since its inception as a tiny idea to help the local communities around Playa Los Cardones. He has helped it to grow to the impactful program that it is today. It would not be possible without him, his constant support, and our many surf “board meetings” idea sessions between wave sets.
Travers is happy to call Jackson Hole, Wyoming home where he works as a professional guide. He has been traveling to Los Cardones Eco Lodge since 2009 where he most enjoys the simplistic lifestyle of the rural setting, a big difference from the "real world". The most rewarding impact Travers has seen from Salud y Vida is that "people now have a chance to take care of themselves and their families. Simple medical knowledge we take for granted has never before been provided here. Seeing what education can do for a person and then a community has had a huge impact on the people here. It has brought the communities closer together and opened the door to having a higher quality of life through education. You simply can not put a value on that!"
Jonathan Puerto- Translator and Community Ambassador
Jonathan embodies a passion for helping others and is very compassionate for his local community members. He is very knowledgeable on health care practices in Nicaragua, often providing the Salud y Vida team with the inside scoop. Jonathan’s indispensable help over the years has allowed Salud y Vida to grow and have the large impact it does today. He happily translates lesson plans (even correcting English typos) and he is our sounding board for bouncing new ideas around for what will and will not work in a realistic manner for the local communities. He is always happy to help with a huge smile.
Jonathan lives in Los Angulo, a small rural community outside of San Rafael del Sur. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN-Managua) with a major in English. Jonathan shares that one of his favorite parts of translating for Salud y Vida is gaining a deeper understanding of the community members’ needs through our "one on one" consultations. He has been able to feel an increase in confidence with the people we have worked with, making these shared experiences so valuable. Personally learning while translating has helped him to modify his own lifestyle, especially when it comes to a healthy diet, as well as expanding his exposure to new vocabulary.
Maria Jessenia Vallecillo- Translator and Local School Ambassador
Maria is an amazing local Nicaraguan that has welcomed Saludy Vida into her own community. We have worked closely with Maria since we started in 2013 relaying on her to smoothly transition English health vocabulary into local dialect all while capturing the teachers enthusiasm and excitement for teaching health.
Maria lives in San Cayetano with her husband and young son. She graduated from University in Management and Tourism Development. Maria shares that her favorite part of working with Salud y Vida is learning all about health while translating and sharing it with the communities we work with. Salud y Vida has had a positive impact on her life, providing her with the knowledge of what to do in a medical emergency as well as learning how to make healthier nutritious food decisions, benefiting her and her family.
Shabti Sitton- Translator and Guard Ambassador
Shabti is a local, three language speaking, teenager that calls Playa Los Cardones home. He is our “Guard Ambassador” and official translator for our "one on one" consultations with the men of the community working at Finca del Mar. He is happy to hop on a bike and guide us along the winding beach paths to find the guards along the way. He translates with extra humor and learns a lot along the way. Shabti attends the French School in Managua and is in the 7th grade.
Martha Elisa Gutierrez and Maricella Vallercillo- Materials Management and Local Purchasing Specialists
Martha (on the left) and Maricela (on the right) have both worked at Los Cardones Eco Lodge for over 6 years where they take pride in sharing their culture, community, language and laughter with guests of the lodge. They are a huge help in ordering and organizing our locally purchased supplies as well as strategic planning. Through many sit down meetings with these ladies, we have been able to develop our program to be more culturally considerate and more importantly, accurate, allowing us to teach realistic health workshops in the community.
Martha lives in El Trinidad, with her husband and two kids, Jefferson and Hillary. When asked about her favorite part of working with Salud y Vida, she explained she feels good knowing her community is learning how to care for their health. She also explained how beneficial it has been to learn preventative health, especially regarding healthy hydration and women’s health. She has found the most benefit, having learned in over 10 Workplace Wellness classes, on how to best care for her family.
Maricela lives in San Cayetano with her family. With a big heart, her goal of working with Salud y Vida is to reach the most people possible in the surrounding communities. When asked what she enjoys most about learning through the health workshops, she replies; learning what to do in day to day life situations, like what to do when you are sick and basic first aid.