Jav, Papa, Javier (pronounced like Java), Senior, and amigo these are just a few of the affectionate names SIA participants have given to Javier Bazan, SIA’s Regional Coordinator in Peru and Ecuador. Like the developing role of the Trip Leaders, he too is another significant member of the SIA team that has helped expand and develop our programs.
In fact without people like Javier SIA would struggle to assist those in need. In Peru, Javier puts in motion the vision of SIA. He is SIA’s “Man on the Ground” and he makes everything possible. With every project Javier is determined to ensure that SIA’s projects benefit the most number of people. It is an approach that allows for the empowerment of the community and sustainable projects.
Having worked with Javier for the past three years I have seen the exceptional way he interacts with people. Working alongside directors of schools, and hospitals or working in community kitchens, Javier is a man of the people. He is as attentive discussing large scale campaigns as he is when he listens to a woman explain a health issue. The outcome remains the same: he ensures that the person speaking has someone to listen to and his care provides the guarantee that their concerns will be followed up upon.
Javier has not always been in the same role, but his story of how he became involved with SIA is no less amazing then the man himself. In 2009, Javier Bazan, was invited to accompany a group of university students from Canada. It was during this trip that Javier and I met. I was one of the leaders of the university program and with my limited knowledge in Spanish I acted as the liaison between the university students and the local communities. This allowed Javier and me to get to know one another; an immediate bond formed. We both understood the importance of ensuring that the voice of the community became the predominant voice in the projects.
Javier and I worked alongside each other for the next two months, and our friendship strengthened. Javier became increasingly more involved in the SIA program, and when I was asked to lead an SIA program, Javier naturally became my right hand man.
Following a successful summer I suggested to Javier that he become more involved in the program. Stepping into the relative unknown and already with a holding a job as a taxi driver, Javier decided to accept the responsibility. The benefits to SIA were immediate. With Javier in charge in Peru, SIA was able to create such projects as the “SIA – UGEL”, English as a Second Language program, which helped enrich the SIA Peru 2010 program. Following the successful 2010 program, in which Javier had mobilised a volunteer force of Peruvians, he approached SIA with the idea of beginning a chapter of SIA in Peru, and SIA Peru began.
Later that summer Javier and I would travel to Ecuador and with Javier alongside we were able to begin the SIA Ecuador program.
In an email conversation this past week I had a chance to ask Javier about his thoughts as we prepare for next year. I could imagine his response as if he were beside me, pausing as he enjoyed the moment, allowing himself a moment of reflection, before delivering one of his characteristically profound responses:
“I am happy, to see that we are advancing and that with every step Solidarity in Action will go stronger. We will continue to grow and as we help others we will help people experience the feeling of solidarity.”
This year as we welcome the 2012 participants, a new group of participants will join him in Peru and Ecuador. In addition, Javier will be overseeing SIA’s Pacifico de Villa project as we begin to renovate the daycare, Nino de Jesus.
Well the participants may not settle on one name for such a dynamic person, the one thing they can be sure of is that with Javier they will experience the power of solidarity and help empower the local community.
We are so thankful for all of the work that Javier Bazan and the rest of SIA Peru team do to make these programs a success.
SIA Trips Abroad
Thank you once again for supporting our weekly blog. Stay tuned, as next Wednesday we will feature a few words that Javier shared with me about his thoughts on the work of Solidarity in Action in Peru and Ecuador.
Have a great week!