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Published: July 26th 2014
Final Adolescent class
We talked about when to start having sex (later is better and only when they're ready!), how to prevent pregnancies, and why it is important to talk with their friends and families about all the topics we covered during the class.
And so my time here in Jinotepe comes to an end. In nine weeks this community has truly become a home to me. I have gained a new family in my home stay (¡muchisimas gracias a mi familia nicaragüense!), worked alongside the wonderful employees of the Centro de Salud Jinotepe, and explored the natural beauty of Nicaragua. The 15 minute walk to and from work twice a day has become the most natural activity and I can't imagine that I will not be doing it again next Monday. At the Centro I have been welcomed as a fellow employee and I feel comfortable and useful there. I have gained at least 8 new mothers in form of the nurses and doctors who work at the Centro, all of whom love to check in and remind me to take care and be safe. Together with the nurses we completed 6 weeks of both the adolescent and pregnancy classes, reaching 40 participants between the two groups (granted, not all of them came every week, but at least they learned about one or two of the topics!) As part of my effort in sustainability I created and left manuals for facilitation of future classes
as well as informational booklets for the pregnancy class participants and 8 informational posters to use in the pregnancy class presentations (you can't always count on using the projector for a powerpoint).
Tuesday was my final day with the adolescents, one of my saddest goodbyes since I feel like we have all learned from each other (them about sexual education, me about how to actually teach adolescents) and I have seen them become more interested in class topics over the weeks. True to any despedida we had cake for everyone and certificates for the 8 regular participants. I didn't even have the chance to cry though because there is never a moment of calm with them and it was go go go until the end of the class period. I wish I could stay and see how they make decisions in the coming years and if any of what we taught them actually sunk in. It is hard to believe I will never see them again, probably even if I return to Nicaragua.
Thursday ended up being my last day of work since Friday was feriada (a holiday), as all of July seems to be, and there was
Demonstrating the pregnancy rate if no couples were using condoms - 85 of 100 would be pregnant within a year (all of the kids on this side would be pregnant, only 3 of the other side wouldn't be, YET!)
no work. It was definitely not a relaxing last day, but I finished up all of my projects, had a despedida lunch with my homestay (they were cooking all morning to prepare for it, and it was delicious!), then a despedida at the Centro with the nurses, and finally a despedida with my pregnancy class. Only two pregnant women showed up that day which was a little disappointing, but one of the women is very dedicated, even though she started coming late to the class, and is planning on going back next week even though I won't be there! Such a great thing to hear!
"Adiós" literally translates to "to god" and means goodbye in Spanish. Here in Nicaragua, they also use "adios" to say hello and while saying goodbye they often say "que le vaya bien" translating to "that you go well". My goodbyes at the Centro mostly consisted of this phrase and many invitations back to visit and wishes for a safe journey home. Some of the nurses that I had worked the closest with contributed to buy me small gifts, which I was not expecting, and there were abrazos (hugs) all around. Candidita, Teresita, Xiomarita (they
like to put the "ita" ending at the end of names here), and Doña Mercedes (the head nurse and my supervisor) were the hardest goodbyes. It will now be as strange to not go to work with them every day as it was during the first week to go to work when I had yet to decide on my project and was semi-lost.
At this point all I can do is hope that the nurse's dedication is enough to keep the classes going and that the material I made helps with that continuation (and I think they will!) but it is hard to hand the reigns over and move on. I suppose that is the goal of sustainable development, that the host community can take over the project when you leave, but I still feel like I want to stay longer and develop the project more!
Luckily though I am not quite leaving Nicaragua. I have 2 weeks more to spend traveling and exploring this beautiful country (mostly the north), so I am also very excited for the adventures to come!
Queridos amigos nicaragüense, muchas gracias por esta oportunidad y la experiencia increíble que tenía durante mi
tiempo aquí. ¡Siempre le recordaré y volveré pronto!
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