Monday, July 23, 2007

La Lucha / Updates




So my correspondence is failing as the pace of our project is picking up. The volunteers leave community on August 5, and there's not much time left for them to complete their "Community-Based Initiatives," so I'm feeling a little pressured these days because (excuse my stereotype but...) EVERYTHING takes longer in Latin America and when you're working with bureaucrats within government agencies in a country whose infrastructure sometimes appears to be non-existent... I'm just going to let that run-on sentence trail off as you maybe get the idea by now. Change is slow and infinitely frustrating, but I'm so happy and feel so blessed to be working towards it every day.

We had our midterm break, when all of the volunteers spent a long weekend in Granada. It started off on the first day with a youth encuentro, a day-long activity involving youth leaders from all of the communities that we're working in. It got off to a bit of a rocky start as due to a mini transportation crisis. Half of the volunteers and youth participants did not arrive (surprise!) until halfway through the event due to (surprise again!) a failure on the part of our partner agency. So the day involved a lot of improvisation and I felt like I was walking around with "caution! unprofessional! do not respect her" tatoo-ed on my forehead. But the day was somewhat salvaged by the cultural/educational presentations made by youth. There was a charla on HIV, a one-act play, and tons of dancing: samba, salsa, cumbia, punta, folkloric, etc etc. The youth also sold food/jewelry as fundraisers, made presentations on the projects they are doing in each community, and were generally amazing.

The rest of weekend was a time for volunteers to relax, speak in English, call home, check their email, and share ideas/successes/frustrations with each other. The best activity that I think we did was a round robin in which volunteers met in small groups to discuss the issues of community support, how to measure success, health charlas, fundraising, and several other topics.

My time in this internet cafe is running out, so I'll leave with some pictures of July 19, Day of the Revolution, when the dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle fled Nicaragua in 1979 and the Sandinistas came into power. Transportation in the entire region was halted that day and public buses instead brought people in from the communities surrounding Granada to meet in the central plaza and then begin an incredibly long caravan to Managua for a rally and a speech by (ex-)Sandinista, el presidente Daniel Ortega. The head of the FSLN party in Granada, Alejandro (befriended by our staff's political junkie Aaron) tried to convince us to jump into his pickup and join in the festivities. I was dying to, but senior staff had expressly forbidden any of us from going anywhere near Managua. The mobs, possible riots, and general drunkenness that were likely to ensue are I guess too much of a liability for Amigos. Maybe next year...

Above are pictures of buses waiting to go to Managua in the central plaza of Granada. Approaching Modern-day Revolutionary.

5 comments:

Plaszloc said...

I'm so glad to hear from you again! I was getting angsty without your experience to leech (sp?) off of.

I'm sorry if I break into your house when you get home, but I feel like I absolutely have to see you before we both go off to school again in August :)

Ricky said...

Change that forehead tatoo... we all respect you ENORMOUSLY! You make even the frustrations sound exciting. Love the pics (where are you in them??)

Mary said...

Just read your latest installment, what an adventure....Managua sounds like it may have been quite a trip! Hope to see you when you return to the states.

Tu papi said...

Perdon que hata ahora leo tu reporte pero tenia la direccion equivocada. Me encanto como siempre tu narrativa y creo que podrias ser una excelente escrtiora-- de hecho ya lo eres, pero facilemtne te podrias transfromar como periodista y/o novelista/y/o biografa, etc., etc. En fin, conntinua tu excelente y profesional trabajo, y sigue escribiendo!

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