Andean Alliance wishes you all a Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Mushaq Wata in 2010

As the days pass by, at times, quickly, like the high winds over the Andes, we find ourselves reflecting over the last year and give thanks for all that took place. It was a great one and ear marked by many activities, projects and people.
We have had the support of great volunteers, some who carried over from 2009; Andrea, Brian, Graham, Claudette, Sarah, Jeff and Karen from Canada; Carol, Erin and Simon from the UK; Saskia and Paul from Holland; Berta from Germany; Andrea from Austria; Sarah and Julia from Goshen College in the US; Rustic Pathways from the US; Aiglon College from Switzerland; Emily and Stuart from Australia; Jenny our neighbor and the countless guests who wanted to lend a hand. Without them, our educational programs could not have developed as they have, the buildings built and painted, the outhouses built, the gardens dug, the ongoing fundraising, video and webpage development.
Many goals for 2009 came to fruition due to the volunteers and efforts put into fundraising. Our biggest project was to get the first module of the Yurac Yacu Center built. Many of the smaller but most welcome kind donations kept us afloat with the smaller, ongoing projects. It was larger donations from Werner from Austria; Aiglon College; Rustic Pathways; Paul Deshazo; The Lazy Dog Inn and ourselves that saw the building built and finished November 30, 2010. We thank everyone who helped
This year we solidified a relationship with a sister NGO in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Sarah, Jeff, their family and friends took a decision to help support Andean Alliance and the future buildings of the Yurac Yacu Center. I was invited to speak at a fund raising dinner in Edmonton in October and had the pleasure of giving people a general idea of where we are and presenting the project. They have done a fantastic job of fundraising, to be used for matching funds in 2011. We have great hopes for positive results.
The year has seen many children benefitting from the educational activities. We were almost overwhelmed from December 2009 till March 2010 with over 60 kids in different programs who were taking advantage of their summer holidays to try something new. In April things started to level out as children went back to school. We have a steady group of 3-5 year olds in the mornings and are outreaching to mothers in the area, who have younger children, to encourage them to come with their young ones and benefit from the program. It will take time as many women still do not feel it is important, have little time to attend or are not supported within the home to do so.
The older children came in the afternoons for reading and writing activities, art and English reinforcement. This coming January and February classes will be offered again in English, reading, writing, and math with a creative component.
We had the official inauguration of the Educational Room on December 4th, and classes now take place in the new classroom, which is bright and dry and has space for many kids and activities.
December 19th sees us hosting the 8th annual Chocolatada and each year it grows and gets more popular. Without the help of 30 volunteers and donations to buy gifts, food and sweets we would not be able to organize this for the 200 or so children. We welcome any type of participation that you may consider, be it volunteering or any donation. You can't help but be touched by the event.
We finally have the Andean Alliance web page on line and encourage you to have a look at it. You will find a list of events to come, project information, how to donate, how to volunteer, photos of all activities and a blog where you can send us your comments to post.
In closing, we know that people can make a difference; you and us have made a difference to the people here. It takes no more than for all of us to believe that in our communities and elsewhere, there is a world other than are own where we can help to create a solid base and opportunities for those who need. Whether as a neighbor, volunteer, a guest, a donator, family and friends your belief and commitment to this change is making the difference for many here. Once again, on behalf of those here in this small corner of the world, Thank You / Gracias.
Diana y Wayne