Nica Vols Head to Matagalpa

Tomorrow morning, I’ll take my last three Nicaraguan vols who have yet to begin their summer to the airport. No, they are not getting on a plane. But these three young people- Engel, Alba Nubia, and Gladis- will link up with the vols coming to Matagalpa, and with them, head into briefing. Tonight is the second night that my girls Selene and Darlyn, also vols from this project, are spending in their communities in Ecuador. I think about them, so far away, and I hope they know we’re here cheering for them, thinking about them, hoping they are getting along with their families and understanding Quechua and stepping outside their comfort zones.

When we dropped off Selene and Darlyn at the airport, I knew people would cry. I was unprepared, though, for what that feeling of being left behind with the families is like. I did not know what it felt like, to see these two brilliant girls you love so much swing their AMIGOS daypacks onto their backs, give their teary moms and dads one more hug, and go through security. We watched them until their bright green backpacks were no longer visible. And then they were gone, off on a journey we’ve been helping them prepare for, and we were still here in Boaco, left wondering who is taking care of them and wondering if they are happy and if someone is hugging them. Tomorrow, it will be the same, as I bid farewell to Engel and Gladis and Alba Nubia, my three little pollitos headed to MataG. I want them to go, I’m thrilled for them to go, and at the same time, I wish it was already the day I get to throw them a welcome home party! I cannot wait to hear their stories, its such an accomplishment for them to go, I am beyond proud of them for this one, but it tugs a little at the heart, to watch them board a yellow school bus with another project director, another set of sups, and head off to a place I do not know, a place where no host mom is going to give me updates and I’m not going to get the inside scoop. I know someone will be getting those updates, I know there will be a PD (who happens to be a dear friend of mine) who will have the inside scoop and who will of course look out for my lovely youth, but she is still not me.

And so, I wonder if this is what all those parents who send their kids to us in the summertime feel like. And if it is, then I hope they know how much we adore and delight in and love their kids. I hope they can imagine all these incredible host moms, who hug them so much, and call me to report how much dinner their vols ate, and these youth counterparts who send me notes on motorcycles about what kinds of activities the vols are planning with them. I hope they know how incredibly awe-inspired we are by their teenaged vols, every single second. It’s like all the time, every time the phone rings, there is a new wonder that has been discovered. Every time I go to a community, hear a story, solve an issue, there’s a vol there discovering something incredible awesome. And these vols are just so. freakin. cool. I adore them. They inspire me. Wow.

So, what else. We’ve been in lots of meetings with communities about the media project, and this week we have the 48 hour challenges. This means the youth come in, get training on the arts or in media, and on social issues and how to make stories about them, and then have 48 hours to return to communities, pick a topic, and make a play, video, mural, story, poster, etc., about the social issue. Then, we all come together and the present the work! I am pumped, thrilled to see what they come up with.

Last week the media youth all made audio pieces about some aspect of their community history. I think these are looking incredibly cool- I will post them here, soon!

25 out of 26 communities have completed and turned in their solicitudes, the Bevil grant is in and will be typed up tomorrow and submitted, and we got another grant from UBC! It’s an itty bitty grant, but hey, $1,500 goes a whole long way here- it feels huge! I mean, the possibilities….

Also working on forming three regional youth groups, with ADM and Plan, for the media youth. This will be more sustainable, allow them to foster skills together, and I think just be an awesome newish model for us to work through the media project with.

Well, its bedtime here. This is Boaco, saying goodnight. The sups are on route, the vols have been asleep for hours (no electricity, or little electricity, means everyone sleeps by 7, because it gets dark at 6:30), and staff house is empty except for me and Tanika, and the fans and the frogs. So from under this green bug net, with a fan on either side of the bed, this is Boaco, saying goodnight.

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1 Response to Nica Vols Head to Matagalpa

  1. Jennifer Keenen says:

    Chelsey, you’ve expressed what I’ve been feeling, sorting through, and digesting these past two weeks since Michael left. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s wonderful and comforting knowing you have a sense of what some of us parents go through.

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