Friday, February 18, 2011

Update from Ecuador!

Readers, we're thrilled with the chance to give an update from the Manna site in Ecuador this afternoon.  Our work is part of a larger vision to be leaders in creative solutions to development and mentors for college students that want to learn more about serving internationally.  Our other international sites are key in making that a reality.  Here's the update.

   Hi! My name is Hannah Palin and I am a Program Director for MPI – Ecuador. I am very excited to be writing a blog post for Manna’s newest site and to share a little about Manna’s influence in another part of the world.

   Manna Project Ecuador started four years ago and has grown substantially since its original work with apoyo escolar (after school homework help) in a local community building. We currently run our programs out of our own Centro in the community of Rumiloma. We have a library, a teen center and a third floor space that houses all our health programs. In the past few months we have concentrated greatly on increasing attendance in our library and making the space more like a traditional biblioteca.
   With that in mind, the PDs of MPI- Ecuador decided to start having monthly community celebrations. We started with a small party for Dia de los Difuntos (our Halloween) and had such success that we have since had a Christmas party and a New Year celebration that brought close to 200 people to our space. Since then the library has been overflowing with kids eager to have a safe space to play and learn after school.

   The rest of our programs have been thriving as well; English classes are full and women’s exercise has had to request more equipment to keep up with growing classes (now five times a week!). Microfinance and agriculture have been busy with new initiatives hoping to promote good business practices within the community. Children’s art is so popular that we cannot collect art supplies fast enough to keep up with the growing demand.

   Although this year has been full of changes – a move to a new house in a different community closer to Rumiloma and the loss of some of our space within the Centro, it has been a productive year focused on building upon the work of the past. The work that Guatemala has been doing and the confianza that they have gained within their community is a reminder of the solid foundation upon which MPI Ecuador was also built.
  I want to thank Guatemala for allowing us to share the work that we are doing in South America. Please check out our blog if you would like to find out more information about MPI – Ecuador.

Until then,
Besos chao chao

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