Williamsport resident participates in The Tandana Foundation’s 10th anniversary trip in Ecuador

SPRING VALLEY, Ohio — As part of The Tandana Foundation’s year-long campaign commemorating the 10th anniversary of the foundation receiving its non-profit status and celebrating its first decade of changing people’s lives through its work in Ecuador and Mali, Tandana recently organized a 10th anniversary trip for some of its Board of Trustees members and staff members to Ecuador.

This trip provided board and staff members, with an opportunity to see the impact that Tandana’s work has had on rural communities, work alongside community  members on community projects  and celebrate Tandana’s momentous milestone with local friends.

Eighteen individuals participated in this celebratory trip including Williamsport resident Shannon Cantor. Cantor is working with Tandana in Ecuador for a year as a program leadership fellow.

“As a recently arrived fellow, this 10th Anniversary celebration was, for me, more of a first opportunity to really understand the depth of Tandana’s vision and work. I was so excited to meet my extended team working from the States, and get a small glimpse into what goes on there. Likewise, it was a joy to share my experiences from here in Ecuador, and in-person form a stronger team dynamic for our work together in the future,” Cantor said.

The trip was held from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1. The group stayed at a hotel in the city of Otavalo and spent their days visiting communities that have partnered with Tandana over the years.

The group worked alongside community members on various projects in the communities they visited. In Muenala, the participants helped plant trees to promote reforestation and then joined in a community lunch. In Quichinche, they planted ornamental flowers and bushes at the school garden, and toured one of the health centers Tandana partners with during its Health Care Volunteer Vacations.

They helped paint the community center in Cutambi. After the painting was done, everyone attended a service presided over by a local shaman who blessed the space. Community members and participants cleaned mud from the gutters along the main road in Agualongo.

The trip was filled with numerous celebrations in honor of Tandana’s 10th anniversary. In Tangali the group participated in a celebration at the community school. Community members in Quichinche put together a grand carnival of student presentations involving dances, speeches and music performances.

A final 10th anniversary party was held in Panecillo on the last day of the trip. This festivity included dancing, food and speeches. Along with the celebrations held in the communities, individuals who collaborated with Tandana through the years joined the group for dinner and shared their stories about working with the foundation.

Along with community workdays and celebrations, presentations about different parts of Tandana’s work also were a big part of this trip. There was a presentation about Tandana’s work in Mali. Tandana’s scholarship coordinator and patient follow-up coordinator both gave presentations about the programs they oversee. Two staff members gave a presentation about working with the communities. Board members also presented on various topics. These topics included teambuilding, teamwork and storytelling.