When my project counterpart, Marcial, and I went to defend our project in front of a panel in Managua, things could not have gone better, mostly because I said about ten words total. Anyone who knows about SPA (small project assistance) grants knows that this is a very good thing, because it means Don Marcial did almost all of the talking, proving that the community is taking an active role in the project, and has the capacity to see it thought. He answered all the difficult questions so clearly and knowledgably that I just sat there, and let the panel be impressed. It was awesome.
About five weeks later, after all the various paperwork from D.C. and Managua was settled, our check arrived in the Peace Corps office. Now ladies and gentlemen, this is when I inform those of you who do not know me about how absentminded I am, which would explain how I neglected to bring my passport with me to open a new bank account to deposit the check in Managua with the help of Peace Corps staff. Instead, I would have to return to my town, get my passport, and open the account at my local bank.
So much to the chagrin of everyone, I took the nine hour bus ride back to my town, with a check worth more than a thousand dollars stuffed down my pants in my money belt. At the end of the trip, that check looked as if it had seen better days, as I’m sure it had; being next to my sweaty abdomen for that long would be a traumatic event for anything. To his credit, the super cute teller at my bank didn’t say a thing when I presented him with what was surely the most wrinkled and worn check he had ever seen, and in the end we had the money in the bank, ready for our project.