Sustainable development through meaningful partnerships.
Today we traveled from Managua to Siuna to Rosa Grande. Ála! (don’t know how that’s spelled, but what I mean is WOW) Today has left me starry-eyed and amazed. There is so much.
Started the day with an amazing reminder of how delicious and satisfying Nicaraguan food is (the non-genetically engineered pineapple was a crowd favorite). The plane ride that followed was sweet and steady. I’m pretty sure all of us fell asleep quite comfortably. We spent a little while in Siuna to pick out paints for the mural. Bridges staff was really helpful and gracious here, cause per usual, I took forever choosing colors. The guy at the store was also nice. Don Luis’ buy-paint-in-Siuna plan was awesome. And speaking of Don Luis, we met the Bridges staff too, and he remembered me. I didn’t imagine everyone would remember me – what a surprise! Seeing Meghan, Margarito, and especially community members again is exhilirating. Their dedication is so inspiring to me.
The welcome ceremony had a Catholic service sort of structure – many songs, prayers, and thanks as we shared introductions and one anothers’ warm company. It’s really exciting that Don Juan (yes, another Juan), community leader from Fonçeca, is spending a few days with us. Another special treat I was not expecting – Don Augusto let us try some chocolate, from their new molds. They were shaped like fish!! And even more delicious than I remember.
I am blown away by how much progress the community has made just in the span of a year. A whole new latrine in Don Augusto’s property, display cases for the chocolate, the chocolate now comes in bars (eee!), hearts, and medalion shapes – and this is just one house! It is so humbling how hard they work.
I was worried before today about how I am the only returning member, and I must make myself and example for interaction for the other members. I’m prettty shy, and putting myself out there is a big challenge for me, especially since I’m so embarassed about my Spanish. But things are great so far because they are already setting the bar themselves, especially Juan. After lunch in Siuna, he made an effort to speak to the cook after helping bring the dishes back. I’m so happy and proud to have him here. Post-dinner was also heartening – I was so impressed at the group. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot with Juan Miguel, Luis, Hugo, and Juanilllo (not sure how to spell it, but that’s the nickname we’re using for Fonseca’s community leader). Despite many of us having to deal with the language barrier, the interaction was fluid, honest, and strong. I’m not worried anymore at all. Just excited.
Can’t wait for tomorrow!