I have been in my site for four days now. Everyone says the first few months are the hardest because we have no schedule at all, and it is up to the volunteer to figure out how to achieve the project goals. The overarching mission of the Agriculture project is to increase the food security of the community. Basically, the idea is to improve people´s diets while also helping them to make a more secure living.
We work with three groups in society - producers (mostly men), women, and young people. With the producers we might help them make organic fertilizers and pesticides or help them to organize a producers cooperative. With the women we may start a community bank or help to create family gardens or work with a group to earn income from value-added products like jams or teas or bread. With the youth we might start a school garden or a tree nursery. The scope of our work is very broad, and we can really do anything that the community wants, which is the project´s biggest advantage but also its biggest challenge.
My strategy is to try to move forward with projects that involve members of each of the three groups mentioned above. The other day I spoke with the director of the secondary school in my town, and he seemed interested in a composting project and a tree nursery. Today I´m having a meeting with one of the teachers to talk about coordinating something. I also met with some of the members of the community bank that the last volunteer started. They are very interested in having my help getting started again. I also talked to one of the farmers who is also on the local citizen´s government council. I am going to one of their meetings this Friday.
So in week one, things are going well. I still have a lot to learn about how things work in my town economically, politically, and socially. And the process of gaining people´s trust is long. But as of week one I am very optimistic. Seeing this rainbow on my first afternoon in site seemed like a sign. (It was actually a complete arch, but I couldn´t capture the whole thing.)
Used to it - people commenting on whether I am more or less gorda than other people
Still don´t get it - ¿Why do so many Nicaraguans shower in their underwear?