Dear Friends of Colombia,
Cartagena ’08 is rapidly approaching. More than 150 are expected to attend the Colombia RPCV conference and reunion February 5-7. This is an outstanding representation.
Everyone we have talked with at the Colombian Embassy is determined to make this a memorable event for all. The Embassy is arranging the speakers for the conference; the military attaché is preparing security information for those traveling out from Cartagena; and they are hoping to find sponsors for some of the events as well.
Fiesta Travel, a Colombian-owned agency, is doing a magnificent job of following through on travel requests and connecting us with Gema Tours in Cartagena for onsite plans. Some of the events in the works are an evening welcoming reception on Feb. 4th, a luncheon and an evening reception Feb. 5th on the tall ship La Gloria; a city tour, a walking tour of the old city, site visits to community non-governmental projects, including a FOC project, and evening chiva bus tour and dinner Feb. 6th—and for those who have time, an excursion to the Rosario Islands. Some of these events will be sponsored and some will be purchased by participants.
Don’t forget to sign up for the conference, spouses and companions as well. Participation in these events will be only for conference registrants. Those who have registered will receive a list of participants to date.
We will be sending registrants a form to complete. It is very important that you send us this information. We will have to put money down on some events so we need to have reservations. In addition, the Colombian Embassy wants to know what your destinations are, not just the main city you’re traveling to, but where you plan to visit outside of the city—a particular barrio, small town, or village. They want to do everything possible to ensure that you can safely travel.
Would you like to volunteer once again in Colombia? Here is your opportunity. Mary Ray and Merrily Copeland Beyreuther recently traveled to the Caldas area of Colombia to do a needs assessment at the request of La Federación de Cafeteros. The object was to determine whether or not there would be volunteer opportunities working with teachers of English as a foreign language. In this newsletter you will read an account of their trip as well as a proposal for a volunteer project.
This is only the initial step in what could develop into a wonderful opportunity for RPCVs and Colombians to reconnect. Thank you to Mary and Merrily, who accepted the challenge and traveled at their own expense, and to Maureen Orth, who initiated the project. Ned Chalker was instrumental in making it possible for La Gloria to drop anchor in the Washington Harbor this past summer. It was a cliff-hanger, but thanks to Ned no one was thrown from the mast. Great job, Ned!
Arleen Stewart Cheston