June 11: First Block Group Meeting

After countless hours of writing and editing an agenda for our first block meeting with Block A, the community flooded, so entrance to the community was blocked by the canada. We took the extra time outside of the community to continue refining our agenda, and went into Tuesday with excitement and slight apprehension over facilitating our first meeting. We spent a few solid hours doing SNA work when we got to the community. We have interviewed almost all of the women in Block C and are on our way through Block B.

At 3:30, we went around Block C again to remind the block of their 4:00 meeting. We had a great turnout of 13 people! The meeting ran for an hour and a half and went extremely well. I was thankful to have a team of thoughtful planners and facilitators, which allowed for real participation and engagement between SOMOS and community members. We gave an update on the CHC’s work and future plans with the Mama Tingo clinic and the SENASA insurance office. Afterwards, the conversation transitioned into a discussion on what to do with the boat, and because there seemed to be no overwhelming consensus, we decided to revisit the discussion at a later time. Several individuals wanted to save the boat as a resource for times of emergency, provided that certain community members (with the assistance of SOMOS) learn how to operate the boat effectively and also under which conditions it can be operated. Emily gave a rundown of news from Engineers Without Borders, and after listening, members of Block C were prepared to move forward with plans for a committee that will communicate with the and organize plans for community involvement. The meeting closed with a conversation regarding the possibility of a community center, which had significant support. We have members selected for an EWB committee and a community center committee, and they will work through the block structure by meeting with their blocks regularly to make decisions and gain input at the community-wide level before coming together as a committee. They will also communicate with SOMOS and other outside resources during the year. We left after getting contact information for the committee members, encouraged by the positive outcome of the first official block meeting!