Thursday, December 11, 2014


          This past weekend, the Manna staff here in Ecuador traveled to Quilatoa, a small rural town a few hours away, for our Quarter II retreat. In addition to discussing communication and marketing strategies, playing a competitive round of Ecuador trivia and relaxing in hammocks, we visited Quilatoa's crater lake. Although cold and windy, it is obviously breathtaking. After hiking (or falling) down to the lake's base and admiring the view, we rode donkeys all the way back up. While this can be attributed to both cultural curiosity and laziness (on my part), it was so fun for our group to spend the afternoon attempting to guide these animals up the mountain. Exploring this beautiful town for  our retreat was a perfect way to end our 2014 year here in Ecuador!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

                                                                   – Winston Churchill

Still full from the six casseroles we prepared last Thursday, all of us here at Manna are celebrating December 2, 2014 - the unofficial holiday known as  Giving Tuesday. While December is so frequently a time for hectic shopping trips and long gift lists, it is also when we remember what is most important.  As a huge advocate for international human rights, I am fascinated by how many privileges and basic rights most of us are able to take for granted.  The right to free speech. To education. To health. To life without violence or fear. To life without poverty or hunger. 

Since my arrival in Ecuador have I become particularly obsessed with the right to education. As so many of us in the U.S. are able to receive quality education, it is ease to forget what an amazing and transformative opportunity that is.   While working with children daily, I see so many opportunities to enhance and continue their education through Manna's initiatives. From our children's nutrition and health programs, English classes and even our art program - I feel we can give back to most to our community through this emphasis on education.

While I know everyone’s Christmas list is running long, I encourage all of you to remember those who were not lucky enough to be born with so many of these privileges.