One month to go before the end of my two years, and I’ve been completely consumed with the mill project for the casa materna. We’ve accomplished much since I returned from the states, but there is still a ton of work to be done.
When I got back to Rancho Grande in early January, the health center, to my surprise and joy, had started to construct the annex where the mill will be housed. However, it’s taken five weeks to get the rest of the materials—wood, cement, and paint—to finish the structure.
In early February the long-awaited check came in from Peace Corps Partnership and I went with people from the Ministry of Health to bring the mill back to Rancho. It took five burly men to load the thing into our pickup truck, and then I spent the next three hours on the road praying that it wouldn’t fall off, get stolen, rained on, or destroyed by some other unforeseen disaster.
Over the past few days I’ve been meeting with the mayor’s office to figure out the situation with the water/electricity; and ADDAC (Association for the Diversification and Development of Community Agriculture) gave me money to make a sign for the business. Most importantly, the manager of the casa materna found someone who wants to work at the mill. Regarding that little detail, one of the biggest zingers upon my return to Nicaragua post-Christmas was discovering that all the people who had said they were willing to actually run the business were suddenly unavailable/not wanting to take the job. Of course, I didn’t find this out until the day my PCV Small Business friend, Jenevieve Doerr, came to Rancho Grande to do a training session with the mill workers on book keeping, customer service etc… I knew that challenges like this would be inevitable, but it’s always hard to deal with them when they arise.
The project is further complicated by the fact that I’ve had to travel a ton for Peace Corps, including leadership training for my new job in Matagalpa. In February I am only in site 12 days.
On an emotional level, I feel completely erratic and a little crazy. Most of the PCVs in my group are leaving for the states in late March. It’s hard to imagine continuing to live in Nica for a year without the support of my best friends here. This weekend we are meeting at the beach for a final goodbye party that will coincide with my 25th birthday! I’m really excited to be together with my group one last time and reflect on the madness of the past two years. The time has really flown.
In March it’ll be back to Rancho and one more month to get things finished up on the mill business. Plus I’ll be translating for a medical team and participating in an Alternative Spring Break trip with students from the University of Oregon.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who donated to my mill project! Despite the challenges and setbacks, I am confident that it will work out in the end, and that the mill will significantly benefit the women who stay at the casa materna in my site. None of it would have been possible without YOU! I’ll be sure to post again once everything has finally come together.