Updates and news

Preparing for Christmas

Portobello, Panama, December 2019

Already back to Panama City from Costa Rica, and gearing up for a busy week with staff from various countries of ECHO's America offices, who came here for an operational meeting.

Although, I enjoyed every moment in Costa Rica, I am very pleased to be back to work. The meeting that we are just about to have, is important. At least, I see it as important, as it is a first one with colleagues from all of the offices in the Americas, with whom I work on daily basis. Although, we know one another through emails, we will have now have a chance to meet in real life, and agree on how we want to work together in the future, so that we are as effective as we possibly can, and understand our strengths and weaknesses… so that we work on enhancing what is already good, and deal with things that need to be improved. What I hope for is that we will clearly agree on how rapid response services (which I manage in Latin America and the Caribbean) should contribute to our overall humanitarian work, and how the country offices see my work to contribute to the overall services to victims of humanitarian crises in the region. With multiple conflicts, social unrest, natural and man made disasters, and the underlying poverty of the many in the continent, the challenges are multiple… While the conflicts in Venezuela and Haiti seem to spring to our minds, there are dozens of other worries too. Recent unrest in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Nicaragua, or even here in Panama, put strains on our coordination and resources. We just need to work better. And then, I am not even mentioning all other issues related to hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, floods, droughts or other events triggering widespread suffering… Lots to think about and plan for.

Then, Christmas and New Year are just around the corner too. Here, the highlight is that Tahir is coming for a visit from Toronto! He will stay in Panama for a little over 3 weeks, which gives us some time to enjoy the winter holidays. If all goes as planned, we will get out of the Panama City, and visit other provinces in the country. We actually should be able to travel to a place called Volcano, in the north-eastern part of the country, known from its natural parks!

And finally, you should hear from me soon before the actual Christmas with my season's greetings! Until that happens, I would like to greet you all sincerely!