Friday, April 27, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
For the past two weeks MPI Ecuador has been hosting 3 Oxford University students who have been working exclusively with our Small Business Development program. Here is an update from Taylor on how things have progressed during their visit:
Since last October, the Small Business Development Program has eagerly anticipated working with Oxford University’s Oxford Microfinance Initiative. We’ve been working on the preparation for their arrival for months now and I cannot believe it’s all over!
The British came…they saw…and left with an incredible amount of information and insight into Rumiloma and its surrounding communities. We did field studies, visited lesser known parts of our surrounding communities, met with countless governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and exhausted ourselves in pursuit of the question: how can expand and improve our business program? Manna’s vision focuses on really getting to know what interests our communities, in order to execute the best possible programs suited for these communities. It’s nice to get back in touch with the community and really be able to ask them what they are looking for from us.
Our team of Oxford students consisted of three people…although ironically, only one member, Bhavin, was actually British. Vera hailed from Germany and spent a year in Riobamba, Ecuador, living with an Ecuadorian family from 2010-2011. Her insight into Ecuadorian culture and business practices was a huge help. Dennis is from Switzerland, he spent a year traveling all over South America, learning a good deal of Spanish and experiencing Latin American culture, but this was his first time working in Ecuador.
This opportunity to really focus on our business program, with the help of three knowledgeable business students was exactly what the program needed. We’re really hoping to invest our newfound knowledge into the Small Business Development program and see how we can expand and build upon what we’ve learned. We’re all very excited to see where it goes from here!
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
This past weekend we had 5 days off for Semana Santa, also known as Holy Week. Ecuador PDs split up for this holiday, traveling all over Ecuador and the US.
Our Country Director Darcy went to Guayaquil to visit friends (she spent a year living in Guayaquil before working with Manna).
Watkins’ mom was visiting for the week and they spent a night on Cotopaxi and then traveled to the Oriente, experiencing an extreme change in altitude and climate. They also got to witness some of the elaborate religious processions that took place in Quito on Friday.
Rachel was home in Chicago visiting family for her birthday and her niece’s (which both happened to fall during the holiday). Feliz Cumple Rachel!
Emily was lucky enough to spend a few days in the Galapagos with her mom and brother who are visiting. Her family is still in town so they have gotten to see and help out with some of our programs here as well.
Nicole, Charlie and I took a long bus ride to Cuenca for the weekend. We expected it to be a little more lively, but found that most of the city was shut down for Semana Santa proceedings. We still managed to have a great time walking around the city, sitting by the river, and drinking lots of coffee. Charlie got to try Fanesca, a typical dish in Ecuador during this time of the year, and Nicole and I managed to find plenty of suitable vegetarian options.
Taylor stayed in the Manna House to keep an eye on things and continue a work project that the Small Business Development program is working on with some Oxford University students who are currently staying with us (more on this soon!). She also got to try some homemade Fanesca, specially delivered by our friend Ivo.
We all had a lovely and much needed vacation and now we are ready to take on the end of the quarter, which will be very busy for us in Ecuador.