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Week 18: The first families move in!

Dsc02064 Today saw the beginning of the culmination of 5+ months of hard work when the first 10Dsc02070 families moved in.  I wasn't expecting a party but they all arrived with food and festive attitudes so who am I to say no to boiled yucca and beer?  The looks on their faces were priceless as the women officially laid claim to their kitchens and the men proudly stood guard on the front porch.  As a self-avowed minimalist even I was envious of the 30-minutes it took Dsc02060 them to complete the move as they marched up the hill from their old barrio with all their possessions in just one armload.  It was mostly adults since today is a schoolDsc02056 day and one of my requirements for families to live here is that their children attend school full-time.  However we're going to have an official ribbon-cutting ceremony with all the residents when all 35 houses are completed in November but I wanted to share these pics with you now because it was such an amazing feeling to usher these incredibly thankful people into their new homes and give them the keys...

Dsc02053 I gave a quick impromptu welcome speech where on behalf of all my donors aroundDsc02051 the world I invited them to begin in a better life.  Given America's current negative reputation in Latin America I was further encouraged to hear the residents say their view of the USA had changed in light of 90% of the project's donations coming from  Americans.  I'll be forever grateful to all my donors who enabled me to come experience this feeling as America's goodwill ambassador.

Dsc02084 Now I need to start planning my return to San Francisco lest my friends, family, andDsc01976 colleagues forget who I am.  I'll be managing the construction of the remaining 16 houses remotely, letting my architects and project managers continue running the day-to-day tasks (ie the real work).  I'll be sending pics and updates over the coming months as I make sporadic long weekend trips to Sincelejo and drive the project to its ultimate completion.  Stay tuned for the final pics of a few hundred people moving in and beginning a new life!

Click here to see more pics of the families moving in!

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