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Trip Start May 18, 2007
Trip End Jul 28, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, June 16, 2007

The G.V.I. Arequipa project has turned a new page, last week, with the departure of Project Director Chrissie and her fiance Daz, and the official transition to our new director, Carla. The way in which someone is honoured when they change roles or move to a different place is often an indication of how great their legacy is, and in this case, Chrissie and Daz should feel very proud of what they have accomplished in their six-month tenure here in Arequipa.

The children of both schools, along with the teachers, organized farewell events on Thursday and Friday respectively, and Chrissie and Daz were presented with cards, songs, dances, Peru fútbol shirts, and even traditional knitwear as souvenirs of their time here. The children were very sweet, and quite emotional, as they said good-bye and expressed their obviously very genuine thanks to both of them. The teachers were sad to lose Chrissie, as she has not only been a great ally in helping them gain better resources and support, but also a good friend to them all. Daz provided badly needed help with repairing the school buildings, building a kitchen at the other school, and generally being the handy-man on whom they could always rely.

From my perspective, I have been very impressed with Chrissie's work in having established the project over the last six months very successfully, and with her ability to build very strong relationships with the Peruvian teachers, local partners, parents, volunteers, and everyone else she has worked with, and socialized with, during her time here. I can attest, based on both my professional experience and my personal experience in Japan as well as here, that building such relationships, while obviously crucial to the long-term success of such a project, is also quite difficult and demanding.

Chrissie and Daz will be missed until their return here next January. Kudos for a job well done, and congratulations on building such a solid foundation for the future of GVI projects in Peru. I wish you both the best of success and happiness in Ecuador in the coming months.

Fortunately, we are still in excellent hands here, with Carla officially assuming the role of director of the projects. Carla has already had a few weeks of transition time, and has quickly taken on the responsibilities of her new role. Things here will continue to go smoothly, and to progress in coming months - sometime slower than we would all like, but when in Peru, live on Peruvian time... :-)

The farewell festivities didn't end with the children bidding good-bye at the school Friday afternoon - the teachers also had to celebrate! So off we went back to "La Cecilia", that restaurant that serves heart attacks on a plate... We ate and danced the afternoon away. I had to leave a little early, and was in bed by 9pm. I found out the next day that things went on until 1am! Glad I made an early exit...
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