Yesterday I had one of the most personally important meetings of my life. The directors, leading teachers, and student leaders of every school in Cutervo (of which there are 8) came to hear what the Kutiri youth center had to offer them and how they could help make this free community service something to be envied by all of Cutervo's neighbors. So many people showed up that we had to find more seats. My socios gave presentations about the recently signed contract and the risks to youth in the community and the need for the center. I gave a presentation about the center itself, our past success, and the basic services to be provided.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and, honestly, surprised me. Kids and teachers were asking questions, saying what an amazing idea all this was; one girl even challenged the representative from the municipality by asking why they hadn't signed the contract before now. My heart soared as the kids crowded me at the end to ask if they could be youth leaders and what they could do for the next meeting. The teachers literally lined up to shake my hand and offer their support. One lady told me she would like to organize a parenting class for the rural farmers outside of the city proper. At the end everyone signed a sheet promising what support they would bring and what the next steps would be. Wow...
So it is with a great deal of anxiety that I leave on monday for my Masters Research Project for the University of Denver. I hate leaving just as everyone gets this burst of shared vision and motivation but I have to fit the trip in before April 20th because volunteers are not allowed to leave their sites for the last three months of service. Luckily my local counterparts are going to hold down the fort while I am gone, which is a great opportunity for them to take the reins. They have promised to do at least one charla and activity a week while I am gone. When I get back, we will form youth groups, train teachers, and create a strong 6 month work plan. My awesome colleague living an hour away has also promised to help the new volunteer get on his/her feet.
I think everything is gonna be alright.
*Feature photo borrowed from http://fuckyeahyellowcard.tumblr.com/