Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Year's News 2008

Degree Course is Launched

As FEISA's activities expand we both arrived back in Paraguay in the New Year and hit the ground running. In March we begin the long-awaited 2 year degree extension to the 3 year diploma course. Our new degree course will qualify students to become leaders in educational institutions and thus enable them to have a bigger impact and generate change in Paraguayan education. We were amazed and delighted to discover we now have 27 students enrolled for the course!

Oil Company Visit to FEISA

One of FEISA's largest donors is a multinational oil company based in London who sent one of their directors to pay us a surprise visit in March. He was able to meet and chat to 8 of the scholarship students who would have had no chance of studying to become teachers had it not been for their support. (See photo taken with him and the FEISA staff and scholarship students below.)

Yellow Fever Outbreak

In the middle of February, there was an outbreak of yellow fever in Paraguay, for the first time in 30 years. This sent communities into panic as people in their neighbourhood were diagnosed with the disease. It is carried by the same mosquito that carries dengue fever, but is much more severe because it has a 50% mortality rate. There is a vaccine, but when the outbreak began, there were not enough vaccines in Paraguay. Other governments donated or lent what was needed, but the help was slow in coming and there were long queues of angry people at health clinics in the meantime. The Government has now provided free vaccines to immunise everyone and the outbreak seems to have been contained. Sam eventually found a hospital with the vaccine and Rup was jabbed in the UK!

Introducing Samantha Ester

My friend and colleague Ana gave birth to Samantha Ester on February 5th 2008. She is the first Paraguayan girl to be named Samantha which caused some confusion at first. When I texted everyone from the hospital with the message "Samantha's arrived!" they all thought I was announcing my own arrival in Paraguay!

Mum doing well.

Proud and delighted godmother!