So I wound up getting bit in the ass by my project. Well, slightly. I gambled and overstepped, and got burned by the unchangeable.
Well, I’m probably being dramatic. I think at one point in this little fountain of knowledge about how timing has a lot to do, specifically with projects. For example, during high season (summer) for crop picking, don’t expect to find anyone at home as every member of the family is going to be hard at work in the fields. But during the ‘winter’ around these parts, there isn’t as much demand and/or work to do in the fields, so people are more likely to come to activities.
And that’s what happened.
During the first three months of health talks, attendance was pretty steady in both communities (La Botella and Huabalito). Then December hit, January came and something weird happened. At meetings in La Botella, families came as usual. But in Huabalito only one or two people would show up for the meetings! Hmmmm…weird I thought, and rescheduled the meeting for the next week..posted a piece of paper on the school door and told the neighbors. But the same thing happened, nobody showed up except two people. And the same thing the week after, meanwhile people from La Botella were coming to the meetings regularly. How could this happen? All the families have a schedule with the exact dates of the talks, so it wasn’t a surprise that we were having these meetings. So what happened?
Summer kicked in.
While in La Botella, the main crop is grapes and sugar which are more or less grown year round. But in Huabalito (which is literally about 10 minutes further up the road) everyone grows rice. And the summertime is high time for rice, especially with summer rains. So nothing was stopping (and rightfully so) all the participating families from their hard work and most of their yearly earnings, not even an energized talk on trash sorting. Families will work 6-7 days a week in their rice paddies from January until March trying to get the most out of rainy season.
So I went out to the community and talked to a few families (catching them at breakfast) and the local health promoter about what to do. He assured me that in March things would be back to normal, and that we could just do the remaining sessions then. It’d be a little cramped because we also have to talk about the bathrooms, but we were all happy with the compromise. And then I was sent away on the bus with a backpack full of mangos, maracuyá, and 5 pounds of rice. I guess my job isn’t so bad after all…