Chau, Ecuador! You are in good hands.

As I write this, I am sitting in my room listening to voices in the office downstairs: the 2011-2012 Program Director team is preparing to head off to the library, where they yesterday began our annual summer camp, and suddenly we 2010-2011 PDs are obsolete.  We have been tying up final duties over the past couple of weeks, and now Manna Project International, Ecuador, is in new hands. 

New PDs introducing themselves: Charlie, Taylor, Rachel, Emily, Nicole, and Heather! 
Two Saturdays ago we held a Bienvenida / Despedida at the library to introduce the new group of PDs and to say our goodbyes to the community that has welcomed us with open arms and has truly been there for us as both an organization as well as individuals over the past year.  Now in a surreal state of departure, I am finding it hard to believe that Rumiloma is soon to be a town and a community far, far away. 

But perhaps my denial at leaving is because in many ways it won’t be far away.  All of us PDs have spent this year working in both group and individual capacities, and we will have many shared as well as many entirely personal memories that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives.  We have each gotten close to different members of this community, be it via our classes or our partner organizations or from origins much more difficult to trace (how did we meet Nelson from the ferreteria, anyway?).  Though we will scatter and no longer use our email addresses, we will carry bits and pieces of Rumiloma and our beloved Manna centro with us.  

With this final post, I turn the Open Hands, Dirty Feet blog over to Heather and Watkins for the next year.  Have fun with it, guys!  

Brock and Luke with Laura, their agriculture partner and friend.
Jack and kids who love to tease him.
Thank you to all of our readers and continued supporters over the last year!  We are deeply appreciative of you and hope you continue to support us through this blog in the year to come!  I know I will.