Handing Over the Program

I’m now officially giving over my Boaco project to someone else. Its not just a saying its the end anymore, its actually over. AMIGOS people are going to Nica- and to Boaco, and to Teustepe, and to the communities in the Asiento/Mercedes zona without me. Without me.

They are going with Maribel, and she promises to share the details. But when Donahi told them AMIGOS people were coming, she specified- AMIGOS people are coming, but Chelsey is not. It’s real. There is a Senior Staff hired, of which is a part a great guy who is going to be the PD.

So, quickly, I want to just say, there’s some things about Boaco. Some things about the jovenes and communities and life in Teustepe. Things that could never, ever be possibly captured in a handover report. Here they are, please know them, people who are taking over this oh so special project so dear to my heart:

  • The jovenes in Boaco are brilliant. Brilliant.
  • Sometimes the brilliant jovenes act shy. It’s an act. Make them sing. Be crazy. Make them dance in the streets and act like silly animals. They will stop being shy. But sometimes you have to be really crazy.
  • Sometimes the parents need a little love. Some reassurance. A visit. Lunch. Love. Promise them you will call with weekly updates about their volunteer. Then call every week, and fight for the info if you must, because its right.
  • I recognize its your project now, and you’ll do things differently than me. But just so you know, it totally works to begin every workshop, training, gathering, etc., with “A Boom Chicka Boom.” Just keep singing until everyone is singing. It works. Really. Well.
  • Don’t go to the Hospital in Boaco. Its a bad idea.
  • You can get credit at Don Alfaro’s, the biggest store in Teustepe, if you forget your wallet and suddenly need money to buy massive amounts of dulces as prizes for the youth encuentro.
  • The best food is at Dona Irma’s. Picnic, the other restaraunt, takes forever.
  • If you’re really nice to the mayor, they’ll give you a free wifi password and network. Only if you’re nice. Only my 2010 sups were successful on this count, because they just made besties with everyone.
  • It will behoove you to make friends with bike taxis and taxis. If any sketchy taxi men do you wrong, you just march over to the mayor’s office with Maribel. They’ll put the taximan in his place.
  • The mayor has a projector. AMUB has a projector. The guy who lives one block North from the corner of the park with the yellow house on it has a projector.
  • Dona Irma has a energy plant, if the electricity is out and you have a hundred youth who are supposed to watch a video.
  • Dra Judith lives in the purple house at the entrance to Teustepe. Be friends with her.
  • Alfredo, the best, most affordable and won’t take advantage of you taxi driver lives next door to Don Alfaro, the “grocery store.”
  • When riding in the back of a truck, there is nothing more glorious than standing in the back of Alfredo’s red truck, waving to everyone as you pass, the wind rushing by you, the giant green mountains all around you.
  • Hold youth encuentros whenever possible. Just ask for more money. Its very important. Hold them because its Wednesday, because you have an idea, because you found an awesome video to share. Just hold them. As often as possible.
  • Be honest. Say the truth, even if its hard.
  • Printer cartridges can be refilled in Boaco. You can send them up and down with taxi drivers you trust. See the list.
  • Give people hugs. Sing in the street. Trust everyone in the town to help you.
  • Mobilize the host moms when you need help.
  • Organize youth enuentros on Facebook.
  • Befriend the girl who runs the only Internet cafe.
  • The man at the Claro store in Teustepe literally takes hours to do mostly, well, anything. And he DOES NOT know how to add time to the internet stick. Better to go to Boaco.
  • Manicures and pedicures can fix most anything. The best place in Boaco is across from Pali. Take Jazyra (Maribel’s 5 yr old) with you. She likes bright pink with sparkles, and she likes the gay guy to do hers.
  • You need people in the communities to trust you. Be sweet, funny, listen to stories, love seeing people, meeting people.
  • You can always call taxi drivers like Chema to go up to Boaco, order your a few pizzas from the Puerto-Rican pizza guy or the park pizza truck, and bring them to your staff.
  • Sometimes, its just worth it to take a taxi to Managua. Sometimes.
  • You need Maribel. Nothing can be done without her. Make staff house comfortable to her. Invite her to join for most meals. Text her updates. Buy her daughters ice cream cones. Bring her Kola Shaler’s. Its her favorite. Tell communities she is your buddy. Be her buddy.

Mostly, love. Be brilliant. Give everything you’ve got. Be firm. Follow through. Smile. I beg you to take care of this project. Its so incredibly precious. Have fun with it. Its the best.

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