Costa Rica: Great experience!

 Dear friends from Max, I have decided to tell you about the great
experience we had in Costa Rica.
As you probably know, Costa Rica means “rich coast” in Spanish; it is officially called the Republic of Costa Rica, and it is a country in Central America bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and
the Caribbean sea to the east.
Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals.
While the country has only about 0.1% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5%
of the world’s biodiversity
I am telling you this information to convey our wonderful experience in
this warm country. You could feel the warmth enveloping all of us as each of
our colleagues from different associations around Latin America arrived.
All of us had the same goal: to improve our communication, partnership
and collaboration between associations.
LA LMC (“The CML”,
or “CML Latin America”)
, as the program was called, was a great bonding
opportunity and a chance to gain knowledge and a better approach among patient
organizations from the following countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru,
Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Guatemala, Argentina, Colombia, El
Salvador. Each one had different problems and possible solutions about their
daily work in their association.
We had the valuable collaboration of Maria Isabel Gomez, representative
of ASAPHE, and Nury Esperanza Villalba, representative of Fundación Esperanza
Viva. Each of them, based on their vast experience, had the opportunity to give
advice, as well as provide key guidelines for strengthening the management of
an association within an atmosphere of listening and respect from the other
associations.
Aside from this exchange, the meeting also represented a good opportunity
to raise awareness about the main projects of The Max Foundation, in order to
assess the impact of the Maximize Life Campaign in the groups, as well as
discuss how each association can improve so that they may be able to carry it
out successfully in their home countries.

An interesting aspect was the possibility of acknowledging the need for
a union between the associations of the region to appear before governments and
try tenaciously to change policies. As you know, fighting together can be a change
factor for every association.
 Also, we spoke about the importance of creating sustainability
strategies for each association.
At the end of the week,
we were honored to be part of the presentation of “Maximo and the Big
C” in Costa Rica for adults and children organized by Silvia Diaz, from
AGALEMO, the local CML patient group. A librarian read the book with her ​​sweet voice, and quietly and leisurely we were able to discover the
pages of this story that filled the room with joy. Everyone listened intently and
looked at the beautiful pictures while she continued to read. 
 All of the assistants were excited about the images, narration, and were
able to follow the thread of the story. When she finished the story, the atmosphere
was filled with hope and open minds towards a new way to perceive the disease.
Also, Maria Isabel Gomez, the author of the book, signed several copies and had
pictures taken with the assistants.
Finally I have to say that organizing this meeting was a wonderful and
enriching experience for all!

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