Saludos from Ecuador! This week, we celebrate one month in this country with Manna Project. And what an action-packed last few weeks it has been.
We’ve just finished the transition period between this past year’s Program Directors and our new group. It’s been great sharing time with them as we learned the ins and outs of how to get around, what to do, where to go, and how our life with Manna Project will be this coming year.
In true Ecuadorian bienvenida/despedida fashion, our friendly volcanic neighbor Cotopaxi reminded us of its presence by erupting! As this is an exciting yet potentially dangerous event, we are safe and sound in Sangolqui, and only had a few days of light ash fall. We have taken the necessary safety precautions and are prepared for any future incidents. Friends and family, fret not - all is well and should any future eruptions occur, we will certainly be in touch.
In other news, our summer camp is in full swing! We’ve opened the library each morning from 9:00 to 12:00 and have prepared activities for the kids ranging from cooking lessons and soccer to art and dance! We even took a field trip to the Yaku Water Museum in Quito, and spent a morning relaxing by the pool in the valley.
Before our own camp began, we spent a week volunteering at a summer camp run by the local municipality of Ruminahui. This provided us an opportunity to meet and connect with students in the community from the university we partner with, la Universidad Escuela Politécnica del Ejercito (ESPE), as well as get our name out more with the many kids who attended that camp session.
We’re currently in the process of having program meetings with each other and our country director, Nancy! We’re setting goals and objectives for each of the programs we run at the library, as well as the organizational roles we are each in charge of throughout the year. While our Manna-specific clubs are up and running (Library, Environmental Club, Art Club, Teen Center, Kid’s and Adult Nutrition, Diabetes Club, Preventative Health Club), we are eagerly awaiting the back-to-school season to begin a new year working with our partner organizations! These include collaborating with students from ESPE, the United Nations Peacekeepers, the local AM radio station, and the neighborhood preschool and elementary school.
Most anticipated of all are our English classes, which begin on September 8th. Our inscriptions day was a huge success, as community members completely filled every spot for each level of English (levels basic through advanced) for both kids and adults.
We’re all so excited to share our journey with you, and will continue to keep everyone updated on our progress, activities, and life with Manna Project in Ecuador!