Tuesday, January 29, 2013

F2F Nicaragua Country Director Dr. Ronald Blandon Visits Wisconsin

Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners' (WNP) chapter invited Farmer to Farmer (F2F) Country Director, Ronald Blandon, to attend their annual meeting at Stevens Point,Wisconsin this past December.  Dr. Blandon discussed the progress made by the Farmer to Farmer horticulture and dairy beneficiaries in Nicaragua.  Much of the program's success has been due to the technical expertise provided by the large number of  volunteers from Wisconsin.  

At WNP chapter meeting
Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Inc. is a not-for-profit, non-political organization working to enhance the quality of life in both Wisconsin and Nicaragua through people-to-people programs promoting cultural awareness and sustainable community development. It is one of the most active partnerships in the network of Partners of the Americas.  Many of the chapter members have volunteered and have recruited within their networks for experts with the needed skills to support the work of  Farmer to Farmer hosts in Nicaragua.

During the meeting, Dr. Blandon presented a certificate of special recognition to one of the WNP chapter members, Arlen Albrecht.  As a member for many years Arlen has helped maintain the strong link between WNP chapter members and the Farmer to Farmer program. He has recruited many volunteers from the University of Wisconsin extension service where he works with extension agents and teaches community development.  In addition to Nicaragua, Arlen has supported Farmer to Farmer activities in other countries and project areas.  Last March, he traveled with his wife, Lucia on a flex assignment in Chile to help with community gardening.  There are plans for a Farmer to Farmer assignment to Nicaragua for Arlen later this spring to support the horticulture activities in the country. 
Visiting Spanish class at local high school
While in Wisconsin Dr. Blandon met with past F2F volunteers and was able to provide updates on their host and work. He also met with potential volunteers and discussed specifics of the Farmer to Farmer program and the support needed in Nicaragua. Dr. Blandon was interviewed by the Medford local radio station and was invited to meet with area Spanish class high school students. He presented on Nicaraguan culture, history and the work done by Partners of the Americas and F2F. While working through a busy schedule of activities Dr. Blandon also had the opportunity to enjoy the winter pastime of ice fishing. He had a productive and fun trip and was thankful for the hospitality and warmth expressed by the people of Wisconsin.

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