The June/July visit to the Choza with @hancher, @jessykate, @toddicus, etc. was the first time that Todd visited the Choza. His fluency with Spanish and deep understanding of the Latin culture, enabled deeper conversations, better dialogue, and more meaningful connections with the community around the Choza. We had an excellent evening conversation with Erick and Solein kicked off by Jessy’s question of “What defines progress,” which was greatly enabled by Todd’s simultaneous translation. The Garcia brothers had a different perspective on role that technology plays into “progress.” If their five year age gap plays a role, this is testimony to the tsunami of change coming at the Concepcion community, and a cause for pause in thinking through the role we are playing.
It has become evident to us all that we needed to take a bit more control over the working relationships we have with Mainor and Jesus. Todd and I had a number of explicit conversations with them this last visit, and we all came to a conclusion to move to a project-based working arrangement, rather than a full-time and part-time patron/trabajador relationship. This was an excellent opportunity to have a retrospective of the last four years of activities and we respectively aired our (positive and negative) experiences. We came to an agreement legally and financially together which was fair and just. Immediately upon the conclusion of this cycle, our conversations changed with Jesus. I hadn’t realized how much we haven’t connected when there was a working relationship. Since this was more or less the first time that Todd met Jesus, Jesus told his story and described his role in the community. I have known of his active role being on the board of the school in Zapaton, but it was news to me that over the last couple of years, he as become the President of a community bank where they give out loans for projects. This reminded me of the early conversations I had with him the first summer at the Choza in 2005, one of an elder, respect, and teacher, and I am very excited to continue this relationship with Jesus.
In reflection on the last trip to the Choza, I am reinspired to be conscious of the relationships we are making and the effect we have on the community. One particular element I would like to explore, are the incentives we put in place for relationships. There is an opportunity to rethink economic incentives and reward wisdom, ingenuity, and intention. I would like to share the gift of creation with the community and be a catalyst for conscious projects – perhaps this is something the Choza can give to the community.