July 2nd, 2019

Hi y’all! It’s me from Bogotá.

After the worrying news I gave you last week, now I can tell you that the project has been saved and for good! Today, and after the uncompromising and fortunate support of the IHouse leadership, I signed the definitive agreement with Bethany, an NGO that has worked with Venezuelan refugees from the start of the emergency. With their knowledge of the conditions of the Venezuelans who arrive into Bogotá (they have installed mobile attention points in the Bus Terminal of Bogotá, just to mention one of their migrant attention centers), I am confident that the project will be successful and will have an outreach that I never thought of in the first place. We will be attending around 500 migrants in a project co-designed by me and which focuses on hospitality as a seed for peace in Colombia, a country that faces extremely difficult humanitarian and moral challenges. This, of course, has been inspired by the “Home to the world” spirit of the IHouse and the outcomes expected for a Davis Project which I will try to impress on all the stages of the implementation.

Besides this, I wanted to tell you about a couple of meetings I’ve had. The first one was with Revista Semana-Proyecto Migración Venezuela. Semana is one of Colombia’s foremost news organizations, and its leading magazine, SEMANA, is one of the most respected and read in Colombia. Their project around Venezuelan migration is chaired by a former colleague of mine –a kind of hierarchical superior and clearly a mentor and a role model–. Her insights about the importance of the kind of work we are trying to do with the Davis prize were amazingly useful. Furthermore, she will give us some of Semana’s printed publications for the Venezuelan community in Colombia to support our programs. She also mentioned the possibility of the project being highlighted and covered in their webpage!

In another meeting with one of the executives and heirs of RAMO, one of Colombia’s dearest and more respected corporations of the food industry, I’ve now secured the refreshments for all the assistants to the program, giving us more space to receive more Venezuelan mothers or children or the option of offering them a richer experience in the activities of the project. This person also secured the collaboration of a network of volunteers which he founded in Colombia that will provide help in the development of the project. He was very pleased when we spoke because he is trying to create networks of volunteers, NGO’s and causes (such as the Venezuelan migration in Colombia), in order to promote the social sector of Colombia. Our project will be one of the first steps in developing an initiative that mixes the best of Colombia’s hospitality, of the generosity of its modern industrial complex, with the creativity and resolute work of its NGO’s in order to face the country’s immense challenges. Soon, I hope to share with you a short interview with this person, so he can explain what the project meant for him.

By now, the dates of the project activities have been decided. We will start on July 13 and will work through August 10.

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