One of the many incredible community members that MPI Ecuador Program Directors get to interact with and learn from on a daily basis is Clemencia, who over the past year has become current Program Director's "Ecuadorian grandma" and holds a special place in all our hearts.
Clemencia is from the community of Amaguaña in the Los Chillos Valley, and has been a valued friend of Manna Project International for several years. When she was diagnosed with diabetes, she didn’t know where to turn for help or information about her diagnosis. Since she began attending the Diabetes Club run by Manna Project in partnership with the Sangolqui Hospital she has learned how to make healthier eating choices, and how to incorporate more exercise into her daily life. As the head of the Diabetes Club she has also gained more self-confidence and leadership abilities that have helped her overcome machismo stereotypes and become a leader in her community.
One of MPI Ecuador's major points of focus this past year has been on continuing to deepen relationships with individuals like Clemencia. By taking this focus, we have seen that Clemencia and many other community members have also stepped up and helped Manna Project in immeasurable ways. The involvement of community members in helping guide the direction of Manna Project programming, special events, and more has helped us expand our impact and form prosperous new relationships. Community members such as Clemencia and her sister, Blanca, helped prepare and serve food at our recent fundraising event, the Hornado Solidario, and also search for donations to keep costs down and raise as much money as possible for Manna Project programs.
I can't imagine Manna Project International in Ecuador without Clemencia! Her smile and positive attitude are infectious, and her disposition to always help, guide, and support Program Directors is one that makes the transition to Ecuador much easier...and leaving much harder!