Written by: Catherine
MyBEST project held its final General Assembly of the year on September 20. It was held in Orinoco, a small, beautiful Garifuna community about a 30 minute panga ride away from Pearl Lagoon. We had been there before for the North-South Dialogue and for a Parent’s Workshop which I facilitated with Jay, the Parent Intern. Myself and the other Project Support intern were responsible for presenting what the objectives are of the MyBEST project and how far it has come along since its commencement in 2011. A week leading up to the Assembly, we prepared a Powerpoint to show what the MyBEST project has accomplished. We included photos and a video that we put together on the North-South Dialogue that was held here at the end of July. You can view the video here:
Unfortunately, no one at the Assembly was able to view our video or the Powerpoint. We were a bit skeptical at first to put together a Powerpoint. It’s hard to rely on them in Canada, let alone here where there are frequent power outages. We brought a projector, two laptops and a lot of positive thinking that everything would go as planned. Our spirits lifted when we realized that there was indeed power (or ‘light’ as the locals call it). However, our spirits were soon dampened when the extension cord didn’t work (not to much of our surprise since it was being held together by duck tape and elastic). We improvised and the Assembly went off without a hitch! (Read Joanna’s and Sam’s blog to find out about the Workshops they did after our presentation).
The MyBEST project has really accomplished a lot since its inception. The three main objectives include improving the quality and accessibility of pre- primary and early primary (Grades 1 & 2) public education for indigenous and Afro-descendant children, contribute to the creation of family environments that are beneficial to proper child development and to success at school and thirdly to strengthen the existing public education system on Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast. These objectives are accomplished through teacher trainings, provision of materials, textbooks and learning aids, raising awareness, knowledge sharing and working in coordination with the local Ministry of Education (MINED) and the Regional Education Secretary Officials. The MyBEST project has so far been reaching its objectives by completing 5 teacher trainings (one more than our goal), creating 4 teaching guides, providing resource materials to 50 teachers, implementing 6 parent workshops and holding knowledge sharing experiences with its partner organization FUNARTE and with other Canadian teachers.
Just as MyBEST has achieved many milestones, we have achieved one as well – VISA RENEWAL! The 6 of us who came at the beginning of July are now officially legally allowed to stay in Nicaragua until December 21 (even though we will arrive back in Canada on December 13). After hearing about the other girls many attempts at obtaining one, we decided to go in a week ahead of our deadline in case there were any issues. We headed to the Immigration Office in Bluefields on September 23 and within an hour we were legally allowed to stay in Nicaragua!
I can’t believe it’s already been 3 months that we’ve been working and living in Pearl Lagoon. Some days time feels like it’s zooming by but other days it feels like it’s sllowwwwwinnnngggggg down. I can’t seem to figure out which is better. During our training with Pueblito they told us not to have any expectations when we arrive in Pearl Lagoon, which proved to be very difficult. When you’re immersed into a new country, new culture, new language it’s hard to not have any preconceived notions or thoughts on what things are going to be like (or what you WANT things to be like). Throughout these past three months I’ve learned about the importance of living in the moment, since there is no going back. I’ve learned that communication is essential for things to run smoothly. I’ve learned that positive thinking can be difficult during rough times but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve learned that patience is a virtue. I’ve learned that the learning process is never ending and each day brings new experiences and lessons to be learned. I wonder what I’ll learn during our next two and a half months here.