Here are some of the projects we are currently working on:
Mural in the Casa Materna
This project is not actually a Peace Corps project, primarily because of the lack of involvement from host country nationals. That is, there aren’t any Nicaraguans helping us or learning anything from it. It is mostly to maintain our frail sanity here. Actually, the director of the Casa Materna has been a great help with this project as far as finding money to pay for paint and materials etc., which is good since it was her idea. We (Heather and I) are going to paint a huge wall in the Casa Materna that will illustrate the journey from working woman in the campo, to pregnant woman in the casa maternal (omitting the naughty bits of course). This is the sketch that I prepared for the proposal when we were asking for money. Everything is clear and we should be beginning the actual painting soon.
We still have our art club that we formed many months ago, but we are kind of changing the format. The kids in the art school are feeling like they are lacking actual instruction from the teacher there. Not to mention the fact that half of the time he doesn’t show up because he is involved with his real job. Recognizing this tragic circumstance, and having discussed it with the group, we have decided to make the art club more of an art class. We are, however, keeping it a very informal club atmosphere. We will be working with them on various techniques and presentation. We will also be helping them to organize exhibitions and maybe procure a cooperative gallery space to display, promote, and maybe sell their works.
Voz de Salud La Dalia
We aren’t just here for art projects, just so you know. We are also doing a bunch of health stuff. Our radio group is working out great. Better than expected. For example, we work with them every Friday. One Friday we plan the program and the next Friday we have the show. It works out great. However, as you know, we were recently occupied for two Fridays in a row! Our little chavalos followed through with the program we had planned with them before we left. What’s more, we showed up last Friday expecting to find out that they had nothing planned for the show. They did have a show planned and were able to pull it off with hardly any help from us. What this means is that it is a hint toward sustainability. They work without us! We are so excited.
We are working on organizing a massive HIV workshop with over 500 men in a local army base. The workshop will be organized to include MINSA (the Ministry of Health), because it is easier to obtain free condoms to give away if the Ministry thinks it was their idea. Actually, it is because the plan is to train the Health personnel at the health center as well as the health staff of the army base to give these HIV trainings in the future as this is a very “at-risk” group, (even without “don’t ask, don’t tell). We hope to be able to do a training with the army health staff on a national level so that they have a system in place so that other volunteers that have an army base near will be able to plug into the system more easily and teach these men how to avoid this nasty virus.
Sex in School
Well, we are enjoying the break in between school years, but the new school year will be starting in January and we have some things we want to change about the way we taught in the schools this year. For one thing, we are thinking that rather than teach only one grade, and only a couple of classes, as we did this year, now that we have all of the materials prepared, we would like to try to teach our sexual health series to every class of every grade in the two high schools in the municipality. Can it be done? Yes. Can anybody survive that many high school students giggling and cracking jokes about testicles? Not without a trip to Costa Rica first. (Done).
Friday we are giving a training in the health center about pre- and post-counseling for the HIV test since the medical staff are super cold and don’t talk to people very well. Heather’s work is almost finished at the rehabilitation center and she is not sure whether she will be continuing her work there, as it is not sustainable without her, though I have been kicking around the idea of having an art class out there. (It’s very therapeutic, I just don’t want to finish two years of health service with nothing to speak of but murals and art clubs.) We are still plugging away at the national casa maternal project and have a variety of other small things going on to keep us pleasantly distracted in between visitors.
On the domestic end of things, we went to the local carpenter on Saturday to have him help us construct a little project according to my plans. He he he. I will be sharing more on this later, when it is finished, tested, and has a product to show. Cooking is still an everpresent part of our lives here and we love it. Also, small bamboo projects abound.
Christmas-related celebrations are commencing, but I think you will have to wait for the “The Amazing Adventures of Heather and Kory Christmas Special” for that!