Arleen Stewart Cheston
President, Friends of Colombia
Dear Friends of Colombia, I am very pleased to report that our December newsletter generated a significant growth in membership. We have received membership dues from 20 and due to the efforts of Group One, our number of lifetime members has significantly increased. Thanks, Ned, for reconnecting with Group One. You will see from the Treasurer's Report on page 6 that our donations have more than doubled for 2006.
We donated to two more projects; K-12 Wired, Maureen Orth's project in the school she started outside of Medelln as a volunteer, and Colombia Progresa, which provides school children with clothes and school supplies needed to attend school.
Ambassador from Colombia Carolina Barco met with Ned Chalker and me after the reception held at the Embassy honoring the 45th anniversary of the Peace Corps. She told us that she has fond memories of the Peace Corps in Colombia and would like to work with us to make it possible for RPCVs to visit and reconnect with Colombia.
Her letter is printed in this newsletter. We have begun working with the Embassy to formulate such a plan. Thanks to the effort of Maureen Orth, the Cafeteros are interested in collaborating with us to make a reunion possible. Initially we are aiming for February 2008 for a four to five day event in Cartagena, which would include country updates, planned activities, and plenty of free time.
Some people may wish to visit their PC sites following the reunion. We are in the very early stages of planning and much can change. However, I need to know if you would like to receive information as it develops and if you think you might like to attend. We hope to have at least 50 people express an interest to make it worth the effort so, if you are interested, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com with the subject CARTAGENA.
In keeping with our renewed direction toward People to People, Making a Difference in Colombia, you will be receiving a fundraising letter in July, marking El Veinte de Julio, Colombia Independence Day. Please watch for it and we hope you will remain committed to our friends in Colombia.
This newsletter is the product of our new editor, Abby Wasserman, whom were very pleased to have working with us. Here on the east coast, Spring is in the air.