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Laying the foundation for an AMIGOS summer

Nicol (Project Director) and I (Jordan, Assistant Project Director) have been busy, busy, busy setting up the Matagalpa project. The to-do lists sprawl across the wall of project house and all the way on to “the cloud.” I believe every AMIGOS summer is at first punctuated by these moments of an overwhelming view of the future ahead. Nevertheless, these flashes of everything yet to be done are overtaken by the beauty of the community around us.

To start, we met with our partner agencies, who shared their vision for the summer and all they believe that we can accomplish. We have sat down with host families, eager to receive participants and teach them about their cooking, their schools, and how to plant avocado trees. And, we have broken tortilla with our friends over talks as simple as the sureness of the rain to come later this season and things as complicated as the challenges facing young people in a rapidly changing country.

The network of people supporting our project has motivated us to plan this unique program. All the while, gifts of freshly picked limes and the tastes of blueberry-lavender ice cream fuel our work.

More staff arrive in country

Supervisor arrival was a whirlwind. After four different flights and some hot days and nights in Managua, we were united as the Matagalpa 2017 Project Leadership Team. For as much fun as an AMIGOS summer can be, supervisor training is one of the most demanding aspects of the project. Some supervisors’ days started at 5 AM with a bus to project house and ended late at night!

Training sessions at project house were broken up by meetings with partner agencies. These are Nicaraguan organizations with objectives similar to AMIGOS. They support us in countless ways, including community and host-family selection, logistical support, and keeping an eye out for us when we are out and about. Supervisors had in-depth meetings with PRODESSA, UCA San Ramón, and Movimiento Comunal. Our project puts a lot of focus on maintaining these relationships through meetings with all levels of the team.

After about 40 hours of training and 43 plays of the song Despacito we took a Saturday off for a trip to La Cascada Blanca. With the lion’s share of our work done for the week, we enjoyed an awesome spectacle of nature and dipped our toes in the water that flows further downstream to nurture the coffee crops of our host families and community youth. There is a saying here, ‘la que siembra cosecha,’ or ‘who sows seeds, harvests.’ Investment and hard work pay off. We see this all over, whether in a fun day at a waterfall, preparing for the challenges of supervising young people, or in the future collaboration between AMIGOS and our partner agencies in 2018, 2019, and beyond.

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