On Friday, we met with the Junta Directiva (the Board of Directors) to help organize their administrative commitees. The six committees, with typical functions like finances, education, and membership, desperately need some leadership. Pulling from our previous work in Extension, we were able to advise as to how these committees should operate, how the meetings should be run, and how to allow their Strategic Plan to guide their progress. The “sticky wall” that fellow Extensionista, Carmen de Rusha, suggested came in very handy for the organizational structure exercise. During Tuesday’s organizing meeting, all APOT members signed up for one product committee and one administrative committee. We weren’t sure how much participation there would be, but everyone seemed enthusiastic to continue to build on previous success–and happily filled up the chart, which called for at least four members per committee. Tomorrow morning, Monday (March 19), we will take a bus two hours into the mountains to faciliatate a dialogue between the APOT members we’ve been advising, and the Cabecars, a group of indigenous farmers. Our mission is to get them talking about how they can help each other in terms of planning and distribution of their products. We’re hoping to begin a productive discussion between the two groups that lasts long after we’ve left. Several APOT members are meeting us at 7:15 a.m. tomorrow to journey with us. I’m praying for a safe trip up the mountain and a successful conversation. Vaya con Dios!

–Melinda

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