This weekend I held a three-day workshop on community project design and implementation. With the help of a counterpart, I invited 25 people who are considered leaders in my community. Over the course of the three days, we talked about the resources of the community - the river, arable land, many educated young people, and some rockin' fiestas patronales (happening next weekend) - and we came up with ideas for ways that the community could be improved.
Before the meeting started, I was really nervous about whether or not it would work. For starters, a prominent man in the municipal head died on Thursday, so on the first day of the meeting only a dozen people showed up. And of course, they showed up about an hour late, so for the first hour I was fretting that we wouldn't have a meeting at all. But even that fist day, things went well. We made community maps and talked about all the positive things about our area, and we discussed past successes of the community.
The second day went much better. All twenty-five invitees showed up. We spent the day imagining how the community could be improved, and we ended up with four project ideas:
1. A new seconday school
2. An expanded health center
3. A recreation center
4. A computer lab
At the end of the third day, we chose two projects to continue working on - the computer lab and the health center. Now I am excited - and nervous - to see what will happen next with these ideas. Tomorrow we are having our first follow-up meeting, and my boss from Peace Corps is coming to visit. Unfortunately many good ideas fall apart for lack of support from the mayor's office or from the community itself. But for now I am optimistic that in my second year of service I can help my community get something concrete done.