Everyone was a lot happier this morning than yesterday morning, since the electricity was running last night so the air conditioning and fans were keeping our rooms cool. The sessions in the morning were dedicated to accounting, and in the afternoon Robert and I gave a presentation on customer service.
Giving the customer service presentation was pretty difficult. I think that customer service is one of the aspects of business administration that everyone thinks they are doing right. I can tell you from personal experience in Nicaragua, they are not. So you need to try to remove the participant from their own personal reality, have them see the truth, and then plug them back into their business so they can identify room for improvement. We didn’t quite get there this time, but we’ll keep working on improving this presentation in the future.
Working with the business owners for going on three days now, it has become apparent who is more outspoken and grasping the concepts we are teaching, and who is more or less struggling. There are two participants in particular who have literacy problems. One of them is doing a great job though, despite his personal limitations. The other one, not so much. Others still are just quieter people and less willing to ask questions or ask for help. But all of the other Volunteers are doing a great job and rotating around the business owners as much as possible. I definitely think that for some business owners this workshop has been excellent and they are going to bring a lot of great skills back home with them. However, I also think it is imperative that the Volunteers follow-up with all of the business owners. Nearly all of them, with the exception of one business owner way up north, have business owners nearby, so it will be easier for us to follow-up with them.
When the technical sessions wrapped up at 4:15 this afternoon we took a trip to El Ojo de Agua, a local natural spring that is extremely popular to visit and swim in. The water was nice and everyone, Volunteers and Nicaraguan business owners, had a great time. I’m glad that we went there, because I did not visit El Ojo de Agua when I was here with my parents in December. And of course, yet still, I find things on the island that I want to do. On Volcan Madeiras there is a waterfall that I am told is an excellent hike and destination. There is also kayaking around parts of the island, and a shallow submerged peninsula where you can walk out into the lake and feel like you are walking on water. Plus, of course, more petroglyphs to find.
Even though we are leaving tomorrow, I have a feeling I will be back here for at least one more visit in the next year.