A Despedida


Kevin and Wilson are already missing Ceci!

Despedida is the Spanish word for “farewell”.

On Saturday we had a Despedida for Cecilia. Cecilia Rodriguez came to Project Somos in February 2011 as our architectural intern from the University of San Carlos, Guatemala City. She graduated in the Fall and there was no way we were going to let her go. We immediately hired her and she has been with us until last week.

Cecilia designed the first two family homes and supervised their construction. She did everything from helping hire the workers to ordering the bamboo and earth-bags. She did dozens of presentations to the local school kids, getting them fired up to help make eco-bricks for the walls!

When Cecilia started her work with Project Somos, she moved into the Somos Headquarters with us. When she arrived she didn’t cook. As she leaves, she is a pro! All who live or stay in the house, participate in the communal meals. Cecilia jumped right in from the get-go and learned how to make some pretty amazing meals. And she found out that she loved to cook!

Prepping the pizzas!

And so…her goodbye party included prepping and cooking food together as we have done so many times before! At first I felt bad that she had to help but she was the first to say that she loved being able to do this together. As did I! We prepped about 15 different pizza toppings at the house and then headed out to the land where the new pizza oven was already fired up.

Twenty of us gathered to celebrate Cecilia’s participation with Somos and her time in Tecpán. Although the skies opened up, none of us noticed as we had such a blast preparing and eating pizzas together!

Ruben and Maco saying goodbye to Cecilia

Cecilia was more than “just” an architect to Project Somos. Cecilia was a spokesperson for the vision and was the most gracious of hosts to all our visitors. She would arrange shuttles, help with hotel bookings, suggest great spots to visit in Guatemala, etc. Everyone who met her was touched by her beautiful heart and generous spirit.

We really hope and trust that this isn’t really it for Cecilia’s involvement in Project Somos. We have lots more work to do and we trust Cecilia will be able to return or at least work from a distance with us. She is a treasure we want to hold tight to.

We love you Ceci!

Thank you for EVERYTHING!

Heather Alicia xoxox

Ceci and her Tecpan friends!


15 Responses

  1. Amy Yeung says:

    I love you ex-roomie!!!!!

  2. Gin says:

    Thank you Cecilia!

    I loved sharing time with you in Tecpan. You are such a wonderful woman and an amazingly talented Architect, a great cook and you have a fabulous sense of humour too! Until we meet again, blessings to you and your family. I look forward to hearing about your wedding surprise party one day soon!!

    • Cecilia Rodriguez says:

      Thank You Gin for the good wishes and for your beautiful words, You are a great person and I feel honor to be able to meet you.

  3. Steve says:

    BOO!! You are awesome. Keep up the awsome work, you were ( and probably always will be) such an asset to somos. Good seeing you on fri. Luv ya!!! Steve

    • Cecilia Rodriguez says:

      Thank You Steve, it was great to be working with u. it was very good to seeing you on friday I couldnt let you go without saying good bye to you and the girls, It was great to seeing you again and being able to meet your family.

  4. Greg Kemp says:

    I couldn’t have imagined a better person to work with than Cecilia. As Project Manager, I was delighted to have such a wonderful person with such amazing skills of design. Her power of flexibility was always tested and she always came up successful. I don’t think any other architectural intern could have such an impressive portfolio with the designs and actual buildings to back them up.
    Always a pleasure to work with you Cecilia and you know we are conspiring to bring you back as a free lancer. But besides your brilliant and creative mind, your generous heart shines the brightest.
    We love you,

    • Cecilia Rodriguez says:

      Thank you Greg for the beautiful words and for the apreciation of my work, it was grea to work with U, and im looking forward to work with U again. Love you too

  5. Kate says:

    Cecilia, you’re breaking our hearts!!!!

    (No te sientes mal, es una cancion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5_QV97eYqM)

    You have been a DREAM architect for the project–you will leave very big shoes to fill. Know that your hard work, sweet smile and open heart were deeply appreciated by everyone at Somos.

    Muchos excitos en el futuro, linda! Cuidate mucho!


  6. Roberto says:


    architect, project manager, truly a multi-talented person to have working by your side. Most importantly a beautiful, warm hearted & generous person. You will be missed.

    It has been great to have met you during our visit.
    Enjoy your next project, I know it will be successful.

  7. Denis says:

    Hi Cecilia

    Words are so inadequate at a time like this. Your contribution to Project Somos will live on for decades. The design of the homes is amazing and no doubt will be copied by others. Your willingness to provide leadership around the construction of the buildings was so important and professionally handled. I can say much more about your professional side but need to move to the personal……

    You are a beautiful woman, full of fun, willing to make visitors feel welcome. You always were a pleasure to be with, to help me with my Spanish, to arrange transportation for me last year, to do anything that is needed. The house will be empty next year when I return. I will miss you greatly and I know that the same is true for Alicia, Greg and many others.

    All the very best as you move forward in your career. I trust our paths will cross again on many occasions.

    With much affection,


  8. Cecilia Rodriguez says:

    Working with Project Somos has been one of the most amazing experiences i’ve ever had, I really enjoy working and meeting great people with that big desire to help the children from my country. I’m really going to miss working with you but eventhough I might not be living in Tecpan, this is now my project and i’m looking forward to continue working with you to make this dream come to life. Thank You Greg, Heather and all the amazing people for including me in this journey full of great life changing experiences and true friendship.

  9. Jennifer Rapley says:

    I remember being so excited to meet you when I came to Tecpan to volunteer last year. When I finally did I was so incredibly impressed by your outstanding talents as an architect and your wonderful personality. Project Somos was so, so lucky to have you for as long as they did. You paved the way for an amazing future for the children’s village.

  10. Christi says:

    It’s sad to hear that you are leaving PS, but so excited for you on your new journey! It was an awesome couple of months getting to work and spend time with you! Thanks so much for all your help while I was there. (Though I could have done without the pasta salad. 😉 ) Next time I am there it will be very different without you! Keep in touch!!!!!!

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