Tafts back from volunteer mission in Ecuador


SPRING VALLEY — Former Governor Bob Taft and former First Lady Hope Taft are back home after working in highland Ecuador with The Tandana Foundation recently.

Hope was in Ecuador March 31 to April 14, and Bob joined her for the second week. Tandana’s first Spring Volunteer Venture was held during the first week, and it’s 23rd Health Care Volunteer Venture was held during the second week. Although the Spring Valley residents have participated in numerous Tandana programs, they always treasure different aspects of their time in Ecuador.

“I valued working with local people and learning more about the Kichwa culture,” Hope said about participating in the Health Care Volunteer Venture.

During the Spring Volunteer Venture, Hope was one of seven volunteers who painted a community center and built furniture for a school. The volunteers spent two mornings in the indigenous community of Muenala painting the community center with community members. The volunteers also spent two mornings at the La Joya School for children with special needs in the city of Otavalo building cubbyholes and cabinets and then installing them in several classrooms and bathrooms.

During the Health Care Volunteer Venture, the Tafts were part of a team of seven volunteers and 16 Ecuadorian medical professionals who treated 234 children and adult community members in five different indigenous communities surrounding Otavalo. It was a busy week for the team. Each morning they went to a different community to set up a health clinic. The team treated 165 medical patients and 147 dental patients. They also conducted 77 vision screenings.