Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tena Retreat

This past weekend we packed up our best jungle attire and headed east for our 3rd Manna Ecua company retreat in Tena, a small city that sits on the bordered of the Amazon rainforest.

Our first afternoon/evening was spent discussing program monitoring and management. We looked at how different methods and algorithms can be used to determine strengths and weaknesses of our programs and site overall. It was great to come together and identify things that we have constantly done well and things that we can improve upon as we continue to grow as NGO here in Ecuador.

Discussing strengths, weaknesses, risks and opportunities of Manna 
Carryn reading our strengths and weaknesses 
  On Sunday, our second day, we took a break from discussion, jumped in the back of a camioneta, and headed to the river for some white water fun. It had rained all night and the water level was really high which made for some excellent rapids and our guides definitely made sure we had a good time making our way down river. For lunch we pulled off to the side of the river and ate lunch at a local's house. The gave us tradition tea, taught us a little about the surrounding vegetation, and trekked with us to a near by waterfall. It was a really fun day, with only a few spills out of the boat!

Las chicas de la selva

Sunday night we played a great game, introduced to us by our new CD, Fred, in which we simulated the monthly spendings/earnings of a small business. It is a great tool that will definitely be used by some of our programs, such as Small Business Development, in the future.

Business #1, tracking finances 

Monday we woke up early and headed a half hour away to monkey beach, where a band of monkeys runs free, occasionally stealing the hat of an unlucky passerby. It was a wonderful morning of monkey photos and bathing in the sand on the beach.

Tena sunsets 
Hanging out on monkey beach 
After our excitement filled, yet relaxing retreat, we are geared up for our fourth quarter of English classes which began yesterday with Children's English and tonight with Adult's English! Let the new, and final semester begin!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

End of Quarter 3 Classes

Last week marked the end of our quarter three classes here at MPI Ecuador. It was a great quarter with the successful addition of a new level 5 adult English class and the a new Super Advanced Children's English class. Overall our students did very well and many of them will be advancing to the next level of classes!

On Thursday the Children's English classes celebrated with a field day in which all classes came together to compete in events like tug-o-war and sack relay races. It was a fun day, and we were lucky to have the sun shining. 

After the Adult English classes took their final on Saturday we had a great time celebrating with homemade ceviche, courtesy of our wonderful Adult Cooking and Nutrition class. The day consisted of soccer, Quarenta tournament, and finally a great game of basketball. 

Inscriptions for our next quarter of classes started yesterday and we are so excited to announce that in just one afternoon we filled up almost every classes with between 15 - 30 people. It has been really rewarding to see how popular our English classes have become just over the past year and we can't wait to start classes up again in two weeks.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

4th Annual Quito Benefit

Last weekend we had the pleasure of hosting our 4th Annual Quito Benefit at El Patio del Arupo in northern Quito. It was a great success with 39 of our friends and community members in attendance and over 200 dollars raised for the Manna library!

It was a really fun event! The night started off with appetizers and drinks, followed by three wonderful speeches given by current CD Heather Kryzak, our incoming CD Fred Schick, and devoted community member Andrea Haro. Andrea spoke very highly of the library and about all that Manna does in general, she almost had a few of us in tears. One of our newer PDs, Carryn Mills, then sang a wonderful cover of Blackbird by the Beatles, accompanied by our live musician, Edú Naranjo.

Andrea giving her speech
Carryn serenading the crowd 
The night really picked up when like all good Ecuadorian parties, the dancing commenced. Couples of all ages, including our youngest guest, Martina, had a great time out on the dance floor.

We finished the night off with out raffle drawing which included a number of awesome prizes, such as a night in Hotel Rumiloma (one of Quito's top boutique hotels), a breakfast for two at Magic Bean, four hours of salsa classes, and a three month membership at Lift Gym. There was a wide array of winners, including Freddy and Ivo, who were both very successful and took home the top prize, the night at Rumiloma!

Martina helping out with the raffle drawing 
Our wonderful raffle winners! 
Heather, Erika, Andrea, and Cate 
We are so thankful to everyone who helped us make this event possible! Special thanks to Sara, owner of El Patio del Arupo, Joshua,  Edú Naranjo, Andrea Haro, and all of the wonderful businesses who donated raffle prizes.

Manna 2013 - 2014