“But isn’t that the point?”
Posted by sebastianbrown on February 2, 2010
In preparation for tomorrow night’s community bash/celebration, the Nob Hill group and I met up last night at Juventina’s apartment to finalize some logistical and programmatic details. With their four kids playing around in the adjacent dining room, we sat in her living room figuring out what was left to be done before Wednesday night and who was to do what. Included on the to do list: food, music, decorations, childcare–not to mention the actual agenda for the evening. Nearly an hour and a half later, we were just finally coming to a decision around who would bring what food. The main philosophical hold-up? Whether to provide a full-fledged dinner or simply refreshments and light snacks. Serving as nothing more than the transcriber of their conversation, I barely even got a word in and to be honest, was ready to move on.
So once we had finally decided to go with the snack option, I said somewhat impatiently “OK, I think it’s time to be done with this.” Immediately, Rosario turned to me and cheerfully retorted “It might have taken a while, but at least we worked through this as a group practically on our own. Isn’t that the point?” Taking a sec, I couldn’t help but say: “Of course you’re right Rosario, that’s EXACTLY the point.”
Approaching 9pm, Juventina insisted we sit at the kitchen table and drink some coffee along with her home-made sugary Bolivian treats. Final task: come up with an agenda. In a conversation Melvis and I had at his apartment earlier in the day we had worked out a tentative game plan but still didn’t know who would do what. After writing out the plan on a flip chart, Juventina interrupted: “But before getting into group introductions, shouldn’t you and Ray give some background to the group and why we’re having the party?” I responded: “That’s a great idea, except you, and not Ray or I, ought to do it.” Without flinching, she stood up and began rehearsing her spiel. Then Rosario jumped in and explained the objective of the evening. Before long, each of us had signed up to facilitate one 5 minute portion of the meeting. I got out of the whole thing only responsible for leading personal introductions!
If you want to see a truly empowered group of residents shine in front of fellow community members as they lead a discussion on how the community can come together to address some of their mutually shared concerns–as well as eat chips/salsa and dance merengue–join us tomorrow night at 7pm at the Nob Hill YMCA Community Center!