I was a little worried after meeting with the Rotary Club of Matagalpa on Friday night. They seemed less willing to help me purchase materials in Matagalpa than they said they were when I met with them on the assessment trip in January. But this morning (Saturday) the mayor from Esquipulas made a special trip here to help out and completely turned matters around. He did a much better job of communicating exactly what we needed and the Rotary club became very helpful.
Indeed, this morning’s activities went better than I could have hoped. We now have a large part of the materials purchased with plans for where and when we can buy the rest. This is great news since the logistics of material orders were one of my biggest stressors.
After buying the materials I met up with Sam and Chepe, the masons who helped our team with our bridges in Jucuapa Occidental and Guadalupe the past two summers. We discussed the proposed work schedule and hashed out the details of their employment. They are very excited to work with us again and we’re very happy to have them. Their masonry and construction experience will make the construction process go much more smoothly.
I will stay in Matagalpa tonight in hopes of meeting up with Milosz (the Bridges to Prosperity program manager), Thomas (a Continental Crossings alumni and current B2P staff engineer), and a few other B2P volunteers. They plan to visit our site in Jicaro on Monday to bring us some helpful tools and help kick off our construction.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how effectively I can communicate after making it clear that everyone needs to slow down for the Gringo. My Spanish has definitely improved from last summer after taking classes at the University in anticipation of this trip.
The biggest adjustment so far has been having a few odd periods of time where I have accomplished everything there is to accomplish for the time being. I think I remember hearing about this from others. They call it ¨free time,¨ I think. It’s really weird and I’m having trouble getting used to it after a jam-packed senior year during which ¨free time¨ was a completely foreign concept. Don’t worry, though, I think I’ll be ok.