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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 5 - Santa Ana: Projects Kick-off

We finally travelled to Santa Ana today to begin our projects! We were greeted by all of the leaders of the community and government as they ushered us into a briefing room to thank us for all our work . Each leader took turns expressing his optimism for the future of this partnership as well as sharing their culture with us.

Then we split into two groups, one to do workshops on using the new computers we’ve supplied them and one to measure off the space for Santa Ana’s new park.
To describe what occurred with the computer group, I spoke to Austin Warren , a WKU student
“The computers were slow, so people were on different parts of the lesson,” he said. “Gmail thought we were running some sort of pyramid scheme, so we had to call to verify the accounts but didn’t have phones. The computers were programmed differently, and we didn’t get everything done the way we wanted.”
“But we know what to do for tomorrow’s lesson. We worked well today despite the problems. We learned how to adapt, and everyone was helping. We did really good considering all the problems.”

Even with the rough patches, Kyla Gwyn, a student at MTSU, said the day was a definite success for the weekend on the whole.
“We built relationships that will help us more than anything tomorrow. I know I got a lot more accomplished today towards the end when the people started feeling more comfortable with me, and I got to know them. We have two days, so really, today turned out great.”

My group went to locate a specific place to build the playground set we ordered from Technoswiss tomorrow. We went alone with no interpreter, so my Spanish skills quickly sharpened as I met community leaders willing to help and conversed with the local kids in Santa Ana’s elementary school to get them excited about their new playground. Many of us played soccer or climbed on whatever we could find with them.
We also received a tour of their new Centro de Cultural (Cultural Center) They will be putting the computers that we’re donating into that building as well as throwing a cultural festival for us in the building on Sunday. I look forward to seeing the abuelas (grandmothers) sing for all of us and sharing their culture in many unique ways. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to play with these little guys.

Nick Bratcher

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About Kentucky Ecuador Partners

Kentucky Partners of the Americas (a chapter of Partners of the Americas) has enjoyed a partnership with Ecuador since 1965. (Currently, Kentucky works with areas of Ecuador including Quito, Santo Domingo de los Colorados, and the Amazon Basin. Kentucky-Ecuador Partners has been one of the most progressive and most productive partnerships. The Kentucky chapter is supported by volunteers from most regions of the Commonwealth. Members are located in Winchester, Lexington, Louisville, Murray, Richmond, Whitesburg, Danville, Frankfort, Bowling Green, and other cities.