Sitting in the bus station at 10pm in Quito waiting for my bus to Muisne, I have an opportunity to reflect on what I hope to do on this short trip.
The most important aspect of this visit, as with all my visits to Ecuador over the last five years, is simply to see people: people I used to know, old friends, and people involved with Water Ecuador. I speak with Heriberto every week over Skype, yet the few days I get to spend with him in Ecuador each year are always priceless for developing a clear plan of action in the coming year. These visits give me the chance to see the challenges Heriberto has been dealing with and discuss with him in depth how we will approach these issues in the future.
I also get to visit most of our water centers (happily, there are too many now for me to visit all of them in a single trip). I will be able to speak with the water center managers, learn about their successes and challenges, see the improvements Heriberto and his team have made to the centers, and—most gratifying of all for me—get to see some of the people who are benefitting from Water Ecuador’s work.
This time waiting for my bus also gives me an opportunity to reflect on what we accomplished over the past year, since I was last in Ecuador. I am particularly pleased this year as I look back over what we have done. We’ve seen dramatically increased water distribution across all our existing water centers. We’ve had volunteers educate hundreds of children about water, sanitation, and hygiene topics. It was one year ago that I met Justin Mullenix, at that time completing his first week in Muisne. He is now a year into his Peace Corps service and has become a tremendous asset to Water Ecuador, assisting in business and administrative work, educating children, and liasing with the community on behalf of Water Ecuador.
And of course, there is the successful completion of the new water icentral n Chamanga Ecuador, which we expect will provide one hundred families with clean and affordable drinking water.
It has been a good year for Water Ecuador, and I am excited to see the progress for myself. As my bus gets ready to pull off, I’ll encourage you to stay tuned as I’ll provide further updates on my trio to Muisne over the next week.