Neighborhood Opportunity Network

Supporting one another in a time of crisis

Who’s bringing the salsa?

Posted by sebastianbrown on January 28, 2010

With the Nob Hill support group’s big kickoff for the ESOL class (as well as whatever else the residents decide to use the YMCA center for) only a week away, the group decided to spend last night door-knocking in the buildings immediately surrounding the center, inviting neighbors to next week’s party. Juventina, Rosario and Melvis paired up with Ray, Gretchen and I–as well as with a couple other volunteers planning on teaching the ESOL class–and with their 4 kids in tow, we headed out to the three buildings closest to the center.

Unlike last time we went door-knocking as a group, last night we had our flashy fliers that Rosario and Melvis had made in the previous meeting. So proud of the flier as well as everything else they’ve accomplished over the last couple months, Rosario bravely stepped up and knocked on the first door. But as the young man opened the door, she turned to me and nudged me to start talking. Understanding how nervous she must have been, I introduced myself and asked how the guy was doing. I was just about to dive into my tired spiel about the campaign when Rosario suddenly jumped in and talked non-stop for minutes about why she believes it’s so important for the community to meet up to choose how they want to use this valuable community space run by the YMCA. Getting cut off has never felt so good. With the rest of the 6 people we spoke to–all at length–I said no more than hello.

The final couple we talked to invited us in and–much like what happened with Marina last time we went out–Rosario seemed to really connect with the wife. As Rosario’s daughter ran off with the couple’s daughter to play with toys in her bedroom, we chatted about community problems, how well-connected their neighborhoods were in El Salvador, the importance of neighborhood unity…etc. But perhaps most importantly it came out that the lady is an avid dancer and professional dance instructor. After making me stand up to prove that I wasn’t lying when I told her that my hips aren’t designed to move side to side, she offered to bring her collection of salsa, merengue and bochata music–as well as dance moves–to the party on Wednesday!

I think what we thought was going to be a community meeting just officially turned into a neighborhood dance party!

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