Week 6 was my last week in the Tarapoto office. I’ll be heading to a region called La Convencion in week 7, and then spending week 8 in Lima. This week I spent a lot of time with the local TechnoServe (TNS) staff going through details of the cocoa value chain, and reviewing data on local and global markets. There’s a lot of data, much of it conflicting, and both TNS and USAID should benefit from having someone pull it apart and extract the key trends. On Tuesday, we participated in the 30th anniversary of TNS’ presence in Peru. It was a full day event at the park just outside of town, and loads of fun. We were all split into teams and played some silly games, then moved on to volleyball and soccer where the competition heated up! Everyone from the Juanjui, Tocache, Lima and Tarapoto offices made the trip.

For my last night in Tarapoto, we had dinner at a local restaurant and said goodbyes. It has come and gone so quickly, a reminder that time is short and our ability to make an impact is in the present. I picked up a guitar earlier on, and decided to gift it to the son of one of the people I worked closely with in the office, Tito. It was a special moment for Tito and me as we’d developed a strong rapport, and his young son has shown interest in playing an instrument.

The Volunteer

Don Suskind

SVP, Head of ETF Product Management Newport Beach, California

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