For the past few days, a wide-eyed group of recent college grads has been gathered at the Hyatt by the Miami airport, learning and strategizing about development work in Latin America. We’ve been jacked up on coffee and deprived of sunlight as we’ve huddled in Meeting Room #2 for hours on end, scribbling notes and trying to absorb the barrage of facts and figures our bosses have been spitting out. From the seeds we have planted in the past two days will spring the next thirteen months of work that will transform communities in Ecuador and Nicaragua.
I am incredibly surprised to say that orientation for my next year of work at Manna Project International: Ecuador has been an incredible experience, scribbling and sunlight deprivation aside. As Program Directors we have been bonding over mounting anticipation of arriving in our countries tomorrow night, and have formed relationships as colleagues and friends that will blossom in the next thirteen months. Although its unlikely that we will see our Nicaragua-bound colleagues after we all fly out tomorrow afternoon, to know the team that will be working on the ground there has been a surprise blessing; I look forward to hearing about all the amazing work they’ll do there.
For now we are all bubbling with excitement for what’s to come; we’ve been submerged in photos and stories of our future home for the past 48 hours and now it’s finally [almost!] here. We’ll be carrying our new friendships and innovative ideas to Ecuador, but for as much as we’ve prepared I know there is so much to come that we can’t foresee. Challenges, laughter, homesickness, joy…. bring it on. We’re ready.