For the past month we have been working mainly on two projects: the cocinas mejoradas and filming a video about the trash problem in San Francisco. The stoves have been moving along slowly because, for a lot of families, if they are going to add a new stove they would like to redo that whole section of the kitchen. They have been tearing out the old tabletops and putting in new ones to support the stoves, which require a lot more material accumulation than just the cocinas would. However, in the past couple weeks the pace has been picking up. Katie, Roberto, and Teo visited last week and a couple families wanted to install the stoves before they got there or during their visit. Also, yesterday was our cutoff date for ordering planchas (the piece of metal used as a range) so we just put in our final order of ten. It looks like San Francisco will have a total of 22 improved kitchens as a result of the youth’s project!

Our environment project turned out to be one of the favorites for all the youth involved. An important piece was the mural that the youth painted on the side of the casa comunal (a very central building that houses community meetings). One of the youth health promoters, Fidelina, sketched out the design combining ideas from ten different kids! When we told her that her design would be painted as a mural, she lit up and really put faith in her abilities. Painting day was so much fun! It was during election weekend so almost all the adults were out of San Francisco, voting in other cities. We had about 9 kids help paint the mural and when the adults came back they expressed how beautiful it was and what a surprise it was to return home to it! We included younger kids in the youth’s fourth video, showing the trash conditions in San Francisco and educating on what can be done about them. Please watch their final video in Jaime’s post!

Katie and Roberto’s visit was also an awesome way to open up the community on how MEJORC’s time in San Francisco has affected them. On Wednesday we had a movie night showing all four videos that the youth have made over the past three months. We borrowed a projector and displayed the movies on the side of a wall with about 100 people watching! I had seen the videos so many times through editing but that night it was like watching them with new eyes. They show how hard the youth worked the get a variety of shots, record voiceovers, and not be embarrassed in front of the camera. The next couple days everyone in town was saying how great the videos were and quoting from them! We plan to distribute the videos around San Francisco but also hope to get copies to neighboring towns that would have a lot of the same health issues.

In the next couple months we have a little more free range to work on projects with the youth, adults, pretty much anyone in the community. We completed most of the objectives early so now we will be working on reinforcement of the same ideas, translating them into the every day. We’ll be completing as many of the kitchens as we can and the girls will follow up with the post-installation evaluations. Katie and Roberto had great things to tell us about their visits with other organizations so I am excited to see what happens in this next transitional phase for MEJORC. As always, thanks for reading and here are some pictures.

Testing the water above and below San Francisco:

The design for the planchas:

The mural:

Katie and Roberto’s visit:


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