For the last week, Paul Odham, Mindy McCumber taught our annual conferences on identifying and helping children with learning difficulties. We held the sessions in our Christian School and in a large government school in Villavicencio. In the morning we would do diagnostics with a group of ten or fifteen school psychologists from different schools in the city. Then in the afternoon we held training sessions. We did a basic conference and then an advanced conference on applying the methodologies for remediation. One evening we held a training session for parents.
LD Conference
The days were very long and tiring and on more than one occasion there was hardly even time to eat. After each session we would be deluged with petitions for help by teachers and parents. On many occasions they would scurry off to get a child to bring in so we could help them. They were so desperate for help and we were so eager to help that we did not want to take time off for lunch or supper. We would arrive back at the church camp where we were staying and collapse in exhaustion into our bunks for a much needed rest. The next morning we were up and at it again.
LD Discussion group
After the week was over and we were getting ready to head back up to Bogotá, we were invited to have breakfast with the elders of the church, the administrators of the school, and the school superintendent for our city. The breakfast was a time for them to express their appreciation for our work. It was a very heartfelt thank you for our efforts on behalf of the children of our own school and the children of all of Villavicencio. We were given gifts of appreciation and then a letter from the Secretary of Education for our region. A copy of that letter in English follows (Spanish letter below):

Villavicencio, marzo 24 de 2011


Most Excellent Doctors:

It is not easy to find in the world people so marvelous as you, where the spiritual,
mental and physical cohesion are reflected in solidarity, cooperation, and giving
selflessly for the development of boys, girls, and teenagers in our society,
especially those of Villvicencio, reflected in this area so often forgotten like those with
learning difficulties.

The goodness of Paul, with his extraordinary knowledge of the subject, does not permit
doubts but only applause, this is our opportunity to express all of our admiration and

Mindy, that this may not be the only opportunity to receive your teaching, we hope to
continue to receive your very valuable contributions.

The constant dedication of (Dale) Robert in what he does in love, is an example for all
of us who know him should imitate, he never tires or finds anything an impossibility,
he always has a yes, his knowledge is light (hope) for all who need it, his fluent
Spanish has permitted us to count on every year for five years now participation through
a simultaneous translation: English-Spanish, to have a foundation in Learning
Difficulties and be motivated by the teachers who participated in reflective teaching
in their (native) language.

There are not words to express what we would like considering all that you deserve.
But receive on behalf of the Secretary of Education for the city of Villavicencio, the
Directors of Educational Development, the men and women who are teachers in
Villavicencio, our sincere gratefulness for your honorable labor, may God
bless, watch over, and continue caring for you always.

With a big hug,
Directora de Núcleo – UDEL 4 Vcio.

Estimadísimos Doctores @:

No es fácil encontrar en el Mundo personas tan maravillosas como ustedes, donde la
coherencia espiritual, mental y física, se refleja en solidaridad, colaboración y entrega
desinteresada para la formación de niños, niñas y jóvenes de nuestra sociedad,
especialmente la de Villavicencio, reflejada en esa área tan olvidada como son las
dificultades del aprendizaje.

La bondad de Paul, su conocimiento extraordinario de su saber en el tema, no permite
dudas sino aplausos sea esta la oportunidad de expresarle toda nuestra admiración y

Mindy, que no sea esta la única oportunidad de recibir sus enseñanzas, esperamos que
continúe para seguir recibiendo sus aportes tan valiosos.

La entrega permanente de Robert en lo que hace y ama, es ejemplo que todos cuanto lo
conocemos, debemos imitar, no hay cansancio nunca, como tampoco un imposible,
siempre hay un sí, su conocimiento es luz para todos los que lo necesitan, su fluido
español nos ha permitido contar anualmente desde hace mas de cinco años participar de
una traducción simultánea: ingles – español, teniendo como base las dificultades del
aprendizaje y motivando a los maestros que participan a reflexionar sobre la enseñanza
de su idioma.

Es corto todo cuanto les queremos expresar en comparación de todo lo que se merecen,
reciban en nombre de la Secretaria de Educación Municipal de Villavicencio, de los
Directores de Núcleo de Desarrollo Educativo, de los maestros y maestras de
Villavicencio, nuestros agradecimientos sinceros por su loable labor, que Dios los
bendiga, los conserve y siga amándolos siempre.

Un gran abrazo,
Directora de Núcleo – UDEL 4 Vcio.