Our Team

The members of CocoMango’s volunteer Board were elected by Laguna de Apoyo residents.  The Coordinator(s) of each branch – Education, Environmental, Art and Social & Economic Development – is supported by a branch committee, made up of dedicated community members.  CocoMango has an “open door” policy – all interested residents are welcome to attend weekly meetings and/or join a committee.

Ramón Alberto Pineda Urbina


Ramón first became involved in community projects as a youth with Carita Feliz in his hometown of Granada, Nicaragua.  He then served several years as Group Leader at the Comedy & Mime School in Granada, where he taught circus skills to urban youth and performed in a theater group to raise funds for the organization.  Ramón also took on the role of Art Assistant for an environmental consciousness project on Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast, organized by FADCANIC and funded by the Finnish Foreign Ministry. Further, he participated in the Youth Leadership Academy organized by GoCare and Rotary International, and was invited to return the following year as a Coordinator.


In 2012, Ramón moved to the Laguna as a coordinator of community projects, and later was formally elected Coordinator of Proyecto CocoMango.  In 2013, he was chosen to be the head of the Community Security Board and a member of the Environmental & Art Committee of Catarina’s Tourism Board.  Ramón is currently pursuing a degree in Systems Engineering in the nearby city of Masaya.

Maura Francisca Palacios Espinosa


Originally from the community of Pacaya, Francisca has lived in Laguna de Apoyo for 14 years. She serves as Coordinator of Proyecto CocoMango, together with Ramon Pineda, and through her position seeks to help the Laguna community. Outside of CocoMango, Francisca dedicates her time to her family as a stay-at-home mom.

Carolina Tellez Acosta

Co-Coordinator – Education Committee

Born in the Laguna, Carolina has lived here for 40 years. She teaches first, second and third grade at Laguna de Apoyo Primary School, where she is also responsible for the overall supervision of the school. With 11 years of experience in the field of education, it’s a natural fit for her to serve as Co-Director of CocoMango’s Education Committee! Previously, Carolina collaborated with AMITLAN ( ) to carry out health programs at the primary school.

Wilmer José Obando

Co-Coordinator – Fiscal; Economic & Social Development Committee

Wilmer was born in Laguna de Apoyo, where he works as a gardener and landscaper. As Fiscal of CocoMango, Wilmer makes sure that all projects run smoothly and bring maximum benefit to the community. He is also a member of the CocoMango Community Development Committee. Outside of CocoMango, Wilmer has been active in the Laguna de Apoyo Community Development Committee, through which he has collaborated with World Vision.

Maydel Maria Tellez Carranza

Coordinator – Art Committee

Born in Laguna de Apoyo, Maydel has been a part of the community for 27 years. Her interest in art began when she started performing in puppet shows with a group from the Laguna, sponsored by World Vision Nicaragua. Maydel is excited to continue learning and offering her ideas and skills through her role on CocoMango’s Art Committee.

Matteo Nawabi

Co-Coordinator – Economic & Social Development Committee; Environmental Committee

Matteo has been in Laguna de Apoyo for 2 years, where he is President of Pachanka S.A. or “Paradiso”, a hostel on the edge of the Laguna. Originally from Le Moutaret, France, Matteo is the Director of CocoMango’s Community Development Committee and member of the Environmental Committee. He studied Business at HEC in Montreal, Canada, and previously worked on social projects in Afghanistan – his father’s native country – as well as at Hewlett Packard in the Planning & Business Development sector. Additionally, Matteo is Vice President of the Board of Businesses in Laguna de Apoyo.

Didier “Javier” Tissot

Treasurer – Environmental Committee

Originally from Le Moutaret, France, Javier has lived in Laguna de Apoyo for 2.5 years. He serves as Treasurer of Proyecto CocoMango and is also a member of the Environmental Committee. Javier has always been interested in the environment, as he is a “mountain man”, and he always worked with his father on environmental activities. Additionally, Javier is Treasurer and Vice President of Pachanka S.A. or “Paradiso Hostel” in Laguna de Apoyo. He has 2 Master’s degrees – in Neuropsychology y Ergonomics – and previously worked as an Engineering Consultant in France.

Carlos Alberto Ruiz Lopez

Economic & Social Development Committee

Carlos was born in the nearby community of Diriomito and has lived in Laguna de Apoyo for the last 15 years. He is an active member of CocoMango’s Community Development Committee, through which he hopes to develop new activities to benefit his fellow residents. Carlos works locally as a gardener and security guard.

Erika Massicotte

Education Coordinator

Originally from Canada, Erika first arrived at the Laguna de Apoyo as a backpacker, committed to a 3 week volunteer stay with The Peace Project Nicaragua. After falling in love with the community through English teaching, three weeks quickly turned into a year. From January 2016 to January 2017, Erika served as Volunteer Coordinator for The Peace Project Nicaragua and taught English at Laura Vicuna’s private school and a women’s center in Granada called Casa de la mujer. Erika will dedicate another 6 months in Nicaragua to work with Proyecto CocoMango as Co-Director. She’s looking forward to teaching English, setting up CocoMango’s new handicraft store and learning more about project management. .

Ileana del Rosario Tellez Carranza

Education Committee

Ileana was born in Laguna de Apoyo, where she is active in the area of education. She enjoys teaching and has been giving Spanish classes to Laguna visitors for 2 years. Ileana completed high school in El Valle and also studied computation in Granada and English with Masaya Without Borders (MASINFA).

Martin Ruel

Art Teacher

Since always, Martin draws. From a young age, he has accumulated many art projects which have helped him develop his logic et savoir-faire of his hands. Later, he receives his diploma in graphic design. The doors to the world of publicity open to him where he will quickly be remarked for his quality, originality and rapidity of his work. After signing many publicity campaigns for big brands, he feels the need to renew himself, to do something more constructive, to put his talent to help others. After accomplishing a successful exposition of paintings and drawings, he decides to leave Québec (Canada) for Nicaragua, to teach art in all its forms. Martin believes in personal development via creation and art.

Previous Contributors

We would like to say a huge thank you to all those volunteers and people who have helped with our project and supported the Laguna de Apoyo community. From those who helped for one afternoon in Laguna Activa to our founders we are forever grateful and hope one day you will make it back to the Laguna. Until then we will continue to share stories in remembrance and strive to build on your contributions.

Christine McCurdy

Co-Coordinator – Education Committee

Originally from the USA, Christine arrived to the Laguna in January 2014. As Co-Director of the Education Committee, she applies her love of teaching and encouraging creativity to carry out educational programs in the Laguna. From January – June 2014, Christine served as Co-Director of The Peace Project in the Laguna, where she also led educational programs. She studied International Relations at Johns Hopkins University and from 2010-2011 taught English in Ecuador with WorldTeach. Before relocating to Nicaragua, Christine worked with the Farmer-to-Farmer Program at Partners of the Americas, focused on international agricultural development.

Mitchell Ahmann

Co-Coordinator – Education Committee

Mitch came to the Laguna in March of 2015, volunteered with CocoMango for a couple months before returning home but he enjoyed the experience so much returned in August to continue to work with the community. He is from Madison WI, United States and graduated from the University of Oregon in 2013 with a BS in Accounting. Before arriving at the Laguna, Mitch spent time working in Seattle as an Accountant, but felt something was missing from his life and decided to go learn Spanish and explore Central America. He loves teaching and working with kids as they end up teaching him as much as he is hopefully teaching them.