Since I was out of town in the States this weekend and had to miss this momentous event, Becky is here to fill you in on our official change of directors in the eyes of the community where we work, Rumiloma:
This past Saturday, Manna Ecuador hosted a Bienvenida/Despedida in honor of Bibi leaving her position as Country Director in Ecuador and welcoming Darcy Phillips as the new Country Director of the Ecuador site. Following the adult English classes on Saturday morning, we headed up to the third floor women’s exercise room where the celebration began. In addition to the adult English students, many of the kid’s who visit our centro on a regular basis brought their parents to join in the festivities. Even though the circumstances of saying goodbye to Bibi were sad, we were exciting to officially welcome Darcy to the team.
Before the party got started, we began getting the room ready with tables, chairs, and food. On the white board, we wrote a note for Bibi and Darcy in which many of the kids added their own parting words as well as expressed their excitement for a new director. After the community members filed in, Zoë began the event with a short speech that shared our sadness and excitement for the change of country director position. Bibi then address our community member explaining that she is not leaving the community, but when she returns, she will return as a friend and member of the community rather than the director of Manna. She also expressed how proud she was of everything the community has accomplished in her time with Manna and how her work in Rumiloma and the surrounding areas has aided in her own personal growth. Bibi ended her speech by introducing the community to Darcy, who proclaimed her excitement to be working with Manna and to officially meet the community.
|Lucía and Carlos, our business development partner.|
|Luke with some regulars to the library.|
|Jack and Paola, a longtime friend of MPI Ecuador.|
|Bibi and Wendy, one of Manna's biggest fans.|
|Brock and one of his English students, Walter. |
|Zoë and Vinicio.|
|Vinicio and his mom, Jenny, presenting Bibi with a farewell bouquet. |During the Bienvenida/Despedida, the program directors and summer volunteers mingled with the community members, who were having a blast taking pictures with all of us. Some individuals in the community brought gifts for both Bibi and Darcy, to express their own feelings of gratitude and excitement for a new face in the centro. One child, whose mom is in the English class, presented Bibi and Darcy with bouquets of roses. It was great to see how our relationship with the community members is truly appreciated.
While this event was very successful and cheerful, I couldn’t help but think with sadness of the upcoming Bienvenida/Despedida that my fellow Program Directors and I will be participating in when we turn the organization over to a new set of volunteers in early August.
As always, keep up with our summer volunteers on their page of the blog!