Hard to believe for all of us how this last year has flown by; leaving not only traces of memories of activities but the excitement of continuing with programs and projects started by Andean Alliance and Local Community initiatives. Since 2003, we have been working with, accessing needs and providing infrastructure development, educational support, sports, nutrition, health and modeling good citizenship with the small communities around us.
We have seen the joining of peoples to form groups that are working for the common good and our being permanent members of this area has allowed us to form and strengthen relationships, develop a model for private sustainable tourism and outsource work to local families.
Our goals were high this year and given the world’s economic state of affairs we were always unsure what would be possible. Yet, when we look back now we know that progress was made.
Still looking for the funding for the larger community center (see web site www.andeanalliance.org ) we knew that it was important to get started on some of the educational projects which could be held in a “fixed up adobe” building in the community. The primary areas are Early Childhood Stimulation with mothers, reading comprehension and like activities with the Rivas School and with the local kids up here. In addition there was the annual soccer and volleyball tournament and the completion of the access road to the future project site and the new recycling project to raise funds for tournament prizes.
We have had various volunteers throughout the year. A nephew, Conner, from Canada stayed until the end of May and helped with the English teaching, Rivas School and organic gardening. Jocelyn from Australia spent 6 months here taking our ideas and putting the backbone into them. She got the programs organized, materials and proudly opened the doors to the educational center in September. Through her and her husband, 2 of their friends developed part of the Andean Web page for fund raising. We had the pleasure of hosting 2 young groups from an organization in the USA( Rustic Pathways) who helped to build a cement bridge to connect the access road, recycling center, finish the painting and shelves for the center. Another young student group from The UK (World Challenge) started the outhouse, completed the inside work, the roof and windows. Now we have Andrea and Brian from Canada who have helped to continue program development and plan to stay till March.
It has been a lot of work but rewarding as we see a continuing increase in children coming and showing noticeable improvements in all areas. Our positive vision lays in the development of young people to become strong, healthy, educated and imaginative leaders and role models in their homes and communities, our vision is a long one and there are many years in front of us.
In 2010 we plan to build a module of the larger center in order to shift the educational section into a more permanent place while still continuing to look for further funding. Good friends in Edmonton have a small Canadian NGO “ Sombrilla” who are fund raising and looking for fund matching for the center. We hope to be hosting an International Student Group from Switzerland and Rustic Pathways again who bring donations for materials and willing hands and minds for labor, sharing and development.
As well, we are always looking for volunteers who have the skills needed to help continue with the on going programs, develop the formats for future ones, fund raise and create all sorts of web based material.
Every year here finishes on a high note with a small Christmas activity at the school and at the local center and the now famous and busy: Chocolatada” where over 250 children and mothers enjoy a day of organized games and then receive a hot chocolate, candy bag and sweet bread and thanks to kind donations, we have been able to buy a small toy for each. Sunday the 13th is the date and we are looking for volunteer help and for anyone who would like to contribute by means of a financial donation or product please let us know and we will help this happen. Thank You to those, so far, who have offered to help and to volunteer and buy gifts, we could NEVER do this without you.
With outstretched arms and smiles from ear to ear we wish you all the love and warmth and happiness deserving of us all in this magnificent world. From those you may not meet but whose lives have changed because of you we send you their wishes as well.
Abrazos de Wayne and Diana ……..and more !!!!!!