On the two hour walk to Pomatales, one of our newest communities, a sense of nervous excitement quickened my step. I was mentally preparing myself for a difficult day, making a list of all of the things that could go wrong. After months of hard work and preparation, it was the first day that one of our docentes (mentors) would train new promotoras (community health workers). I was on my way to meet Bertha, one of five docentes, and our three Pomatales promotoras—Julia, Teresa, and Estefania. I found Bertha, and we walked together to meet the promotoras. I gave her a few more tips and reminders, like a coach who grabs a player by the jersey to shout one last bit of wisdom as the whistle blows to start the game.
We arrived and met the new promotoras. I took a seat on a colorful, woven blanket, a little bit away from where Bertha was teaching, giving her some space. As soon as she started talking, all of my worries dissipated. She began teaching the new promotoras basic leadership skills – characteristics of a good leader and how to give a good presentation. Then she moved on to the importance of good hand washing. Bertha spent lots of time on each topic, presenting the information, reviewing, then having the promotoras practice. After they had been working for a few hours, I came over to check in, asking Bertha if she needed anything. “No, Jenny, it’s all going well. I’m just going to teach about this a little bit more.”
The next week in Chuppani, I felt equally nervous, but Ana Cecilia and Beatriz sailed through their capacitación as well. Aparicia, Margarita, and Flora, the new promotoras in Chuppani, sat and listened attentively as Beatriz and Ana Cecilia alternated teaching. After a few hours of teaching, they had each promotora give a mock presentation. Again, I sat off to the side, watching and smiling. Although March was a busy month for everyone, it was so exciting to see one of our new programs taking flight!