Can you believe it?
Participants are beginning week 3 of living and serving in the beautiful indigenous communities of Guamote and Guaranda, respectively.
Week 2 proved to be one of our busiest and most productive ones yet. Strategies, deadlines, transport coordination, reservations, posters, presentations…event planning at its finest.
The week was kicked off with a visit from Sara Nathan, the CEO of Amigos de las Américas. Accompanied by volunteers who had served with AMIGOS in past years, (some as early as 1967 and others more recently i.e the early 2000s), Sara visited some of communities we are working in this summer. A total of four communities were visited including Atapo Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz de Guamote, Sablog Santa Leticia, and Rodeo Vaqueria. The group of visitors along with community members and participants enjoyed music and celebrated the summer with an Ecuadorian-style picnic, called a pambamesa. It was a blast! Locals brought traditional foods and gathered to commune with the visitors; the participants had the opportunity to show off their community and host family and to talk to others who had been in their shoes many years ago when AMIGOS was still in the business of immunizations.
Some of the visitors even came to our first encuentro juvenil of the summer, on Saturday the 14th. This event involves local youth and provides participants and youth the opportunity to present the works done in the community years prior; other participants and viewers were able to take a walk in the shoes of their fellow campañero. The participants showed up with posters in hand and smiles on their faces ready to reunite with other participants and to share a little bit about the communities they have been living in. Designed essentially for a time for fun, reunion, and cultural exchange, the snapshots of each community provided by participants allowed for just that!
It was a huge success. We expect the second encuentro to be even better.
In the meanwhile, participants have been busy bees, making their presence known in the community by organizing themed day camps that are held every week. Now, starting this week, the primary focus of our participants will be the CBI, or community-based initiative. They will be talking to and working with community members to design a small business plan based on the needs of the community. From there, they are set to begin the most exciting part: building something together with their community! In the past we have created neighborhood cuy (guinea pig) farms, community banks, ice cream shops…and other small ventures. Many will be continuing and adding on to work done last year; others will be beginning with a blank slate.
With a group as promising as ours, I can’t wait to see what will unfold in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
July 16th – CBIP: The process of setting up and starting the community service project officially begins
July 21st – Midterm: Participants will have the opportunity to make calls home, to purchase local garb and to hang out with one another 😊
Senior Project Supervisor