De Nuestra Comunidad a la Suya – From our Community to Yours

Dear friends of the Wishi Project,

This week has continued to be an impressive affirmation of the goodness and strength we have in our community. I am so moved by the way that people are coming together, contributing what they can, to help this project forward. Almost as beautiful as the product that we will ultimately create, is the process of sharing, learning, giving and teaching that is taking place to make it happen.

Katie Quinn, an impressive young woman from Massachusetts, is coordinating with her missions team at the United Church of Christ in Medfield, MA to raise funds for the project. Also, she is working with the Sunday School students to collect backpacks and fill them with supplies to give to the children of the community. Sam Frumkin and Joel Tirado have formed an enthusiastic team of University at Albany students who will fundraise and build awareness at the University through various online and print media outlets. Steve Brooks from Albany is helping to build a library by soliciting donations of used books from various sources. Art director Zach Zirlin helped to make a short video about the project and the community, which will be available for viewing from the website soon. Nick Crounse, a journalist from Albany Law, is tirelessly volunteering his time to help with marketing. And, Gary Bowitch is generously hosting a Dining for Dollars potluck dinner as part of the Albany Adventure, Culture and Travel Club to raise funds.

This week we will begin a service learning project with Diane Nickerson de Feliz and her ESL class at Hackett Middle School in Albany. To prepare, they are reading Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson, about building schools in communities in the Middle East; and Eyes of Carmen, by Veronica Moscoso, which takes place in Ecuador. The students will work together to discover a challenge that the Wishi Project is facing, and then design and implement a solution. Illustration major Hannah Walker is developing a collaborative sketchbook for her senior project, to raise awareness and foster participation in the Wishi Project. Also, a class at Parson’s Design School in NYC has chosen the Wishi Project as a graphic media assignment, and will be designing posters and graphics to use for promotional materials.

Meanwhile, in Ecuador things are also moving along. For months we have been working to connect Ramon Vargas (the leader of the project in the Wishi Community) with Mary Bonilla (from Fundacion EcuadorVolunteer). The first attempt was prevented by a massive rainstorm that prevented Ramon from traveling; at the next opportunity, Ramon walked six hours (there were obstacles blocking the shorter route) only to find that Mary was sick and unable to make the meeting; and the next appointment had to be canceled because Ramon had to care for his uncle who had been injured with an ax. Finally, last week Ramon and Mary were finally able to meet in the office of EcuadorVolunteer in Quito. It was a very successful meeting, in which they worked together to produce all of the documentation that is necessary to formalize the project. Now, they are working to get the tools needed to begin extracting and planing wood so that they are ready to begin construction when volunteers arrive in January.

We will be holding a fundraiser on November 5th from 5-9pm at the Albany Art Room, to coincide with Albany’s 1st Friday. I have chosen to call the event From Our Community to Yours, inspired by the way in which we are all working together here to create an invaluable gift for a small village in the middle of the rainforest in Ecuador. (More information on the fundraiser to follow)

Thank you all for your continued giving – whether it be time, funds, or spirit. Remember that everyone has something to offer, and that each of you can make a difference to the success of this project.


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Haciendo realidad un sueño — Making a dream a reality

To friends and followers of the Wishi Project,

Nearly five months ago this project was founded, with no concrete plans and little direction – just the knowledge that the indigenous children of the Wishi Community hoped to some day go to school, and the confidence that it was somehow possible to realize that wish. Today, as a result of the hard work, generosity, and enthusiasm of our supporters, we are making incredible progress towards giving this community the school that they have long hoped for.

We now have the formal support and collaboration of two foundations, Eden’s Rose Foundation in Albany, and Fundación EcuadorVolunteer in Ecuador; schools, churches and community groups are coming forward to help with fundraising, raising awareness, and gathering supplies; we have incredible individuals volunteering their time to help with marketing, building a library, documenting the project, and more; and we are nearly a quarter of the way towards our fundraising goal, with two fundraisers planned in the upcoming months. The members of the Wishi Community are also mobilizing their efforts – getting ready to extract wood to use for the building, preparing to house and feed volunteers, holding planning meetings within the community and with EcuadorVolunteer, and working with the kids to ensure that they are ready to attend the school as soon as it is built.

This process is demonstrating a clear truth: That we have amongst us a wealth of talented people with good hearts, and when these people are inspired by a goal – like building a school – they come forward and can make incredible things happen. I am so impressed by the goodness and talent that I have witnessed, and I am so fortunate to be able to see, through this project, the powerful kindness that people are capable of.

Starting today there will be weekly updates on the progress of the project which you can follow here or on our Facebook page. As things move forward I hope you all can share in the excitement of what we are building, together. I hope that you will check back again soon.

Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement.


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Ithaca Times article about the Wishi Project

Ithaca native raising money to build school for village in Ecuador” By Joseph Murtagh

Thanks Seph.

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Wishi Project featured in All Over Albany

Thank you to Mary Darcy for this great article on The Wishi Project in All Over Albany.

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