Dear IWP Ladies:
I hope that your holiday season went as well as it could. It would be wrong of me to ignore the elephant in the room and not say that I’m sure it was difficult for some. Families and friends that weren’t able to be together, a few of you perhaps mourning the loss of someone due to COVID was and is the reality of our time right now. Having groups such as IWP, ready to offer a community of friends and activities (when we can offer them) is vital to those of us who are far from loved ones and may be feeling isolated. Please remember that we have a dedicated Facebook page where members can contact each other and reach out with questions or concerns. Even though official IWP activities are on hold, I understand that a couple of the book groups have continued to meet via Zoom and some ladies have continued to walk along the Paredão each Monday morning.
Although the world is experiencing a collective grief at this time, I need to let you know that we are experiencing a unique grief of our own. Our beloved President, Maria Barros Price has had to step down so that she can focus on her health which has deteriorated rapidly since around Christmas. Maria’s husband, Greg Price, has set up a webpage for Maria at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mariabarros . He has been posting health updates and there is an area where comments can be left. Please use this if you would like to send good wishes along. Maria needs plenty of rest, so telephones ringing are not ideal. Thank you for being considerate.
Having agreed to be Vice President for 2021, I am now going to take over as President and try to do justice to the amazing work that Maria has accomplished for the group. The role of Vice President needs to be filled therefore, so that we have an Executive Board of five. If you feel ‘called’ to help in that regard, please send me an email or call me, or any of the board, directly. Even if you’re new – don’t speak the language – not sure what you can do – but want to add abundantly to your experience in Portugal, I encourage you to be in touch! We need ideas for activities, writers, creative thoughts and event planners but here’s the best part. You won’t need to do anything on your own. We have a wealth of helpers to add to the mix which will guarantee success. As soon as our restrictions are lifted, we will be ready to hit the ground running.
We have a new year, a new Executive Board and a new opportunity to press the reset button. Let’s take a breath during this ‘downtime’ and think about what activities and/or events we want to bring to the group. Besides a monthly Executive Board meeting, when lockdown is over and group size limits are lifted, we will have a monthly Open Day at our new office/meeting space where you are welcome to drop by, chat, pay your dues, learn how to check the online calendar and get to know us.
It is a bittersweet time. The groundwork that Maria has laid: the redesign of the website, the ratifying of the constitutional IWP documents and the insurmountable obstacles that the virus has put in our way to prevent ‘normalcy’ have been met by Maria with the same perseverance and persistence that she has given to her health and wellbeing. We thank her from the bottom of our hearts, wish her strength to continue her fight and send love to pave the way.
Best wishes to you all,