The third group of extension educators is about to leave for Costa Rica to continue the work that our colleagues began in March and August. While they have shared with us all kinds of useful and helpful information about the needs, challenges, opportunities and successes of APOT (the association of organic producers of Turrialba), I think it’s one of those things that you need to see for yourself to really get a sense. I’m not quite sure what help I am bringing, though I am quite confident that we will all figure it out together. After all, isn’t this what we do in Extension? We build a relationship with a group of clients and learn together.

So, I’m arming myself with a flash drive of random bits of presentations and worksheets on topics like team building, bylaws, board roles, servant leadership, and facilitation… Many of these are pieces I am comfortable with using with English-speaking audiences. It’s going to be a big personal challenge for me to try and do this in Spanish and in a different cultural context. It’s not quite the same as presenting technical information on crop diseases–this is very interactive, often messy “people” stuff. I am nervous about not having the language skills to understand important nuances of what’s going on or to convey my own thoughts. And, yet, I am heartened by Scott’s reminder that “folks is folks.” If you believe in people, as we probably all do in Extension, you come to learn that audiences are forgiving–if you come with a sincere heart and willingness to learn and help.

I am also taking with me an umbrella, a rain jacket, rain pants, and extra ziplock bags… It’s the rainy season 🙂