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Nourish International

Day 1: Yorito

June 3, 2009 | Posted in 2009, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

After a long, beautiful drive (longer than Diana remembers because she slept through it last time), we arrived in Yorito! FIPAH has arranged for us to live in the old apartment of a Peace Corps volunteer right in the center of town. It is lovely and we are thankful for the immediate hospitality shown to us. Our exploration of Yorito starts today. We visited the library and Rachel, Anna, and Jaki met its director. He showed us all photos of when Diana went on a hike last year with the teens from Zona X. Now we are going to look at the house from last year and head over to the FIPAH office (once we find it… Diana remembers, right?).

We’ll keep you posted on our exciting adventures!

Diana, Anna, Jaki & Rachel


May 11, 2009 | Posted in 2009, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

Welcome to the 2009 NI Honduras project blog!  Participants will use this space to share stories of their experiences before, during, and after working in rural Central America from May 31st to July 29th.  Feel free to comment and share the blog widely with friends and family. 

What’s the general idea? This summer, we will be working in conjunction with FIPAH (Fundacion para la Investigacion Participativa con Agricultores de Honduras), a Honduran NGO which supports Honduran farmers and works to provide food security to the people of Honduras. Nourish will be continuing a partnership with FIPAH which began last summer.  By promoting seed banking, they work to preserve hardy varieties of crops through cooperatives in towns across the country.

Why FIPAH? With the rise of industrialized agriculture, monoculture, and the use of only one crop variety, the world/global food supply has encountered reduced biodiversity.  The food supply has become increasingly vulnerable to devastation from crop diseases and climate change.  Working on a local level, FIPAH is supporting communities in three regions of Honduras to face these challenges sustainably.

What is the student role? Nourish volunteers will:

  • engage in education initiatives with FIPAH
  • shadow FIPAH staff with their activities (interning in the field and offices)
  • work with youth cooperatives in three areas, learning about seed banking and other programs

Additionally, two of the team members will be working on a documentary about FIPAH.  We are extremely excited to be returning to two of the towns NI volunteers traveled to last year and to be working in another region!  Check out the “About Us” section to learn about the team, and keep checking this page for happenings while on the ground.  While you’re at it, check out the left-hand column for a link to NI’s other project blogs and a link to last year’s blog – a preview of what is to come!

Con amor Hondureño,

Diana, Project Co-Leader

NI at UNC-CH Summer 2009 Team Applications due Friday!

February 4, 2009 | Posted in 2009, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

Honduras PDF

Click link above!

2009 Recruitment and News from Río Arriba

November 5, 2008 | Posted in 2009, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

Fresh off a busy campaign season, Chapel Hill can now celebrate the historical election and look ahead.  Here Nourish has been trying to develop new partnerships for Summer 2009 projects, while Claire, our Honduras counterpart living in mainland China right now, has put together a fantastic recruitment letter so kick off student interest in a trip this coming summer to return to Honduras.

We have also received an update from Luis, who has taken the youth CIAL in Río Arriba to great heights with his wife, Rosa.  He said they will soon have running electricity (two weeks from Halloween!), are taking computer lessons, and receiving English classes.

If you’re interested in joining the 2009 Honduras experience, check out this letter.

( Link not working?  Copy/paste: )

A Tribute to “Sopa de Caracol”

September 9, 2008 | Posted in 2008, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

It has been some time since our summer in Honduras, but with school getting off to a start with tons of fresh first-years, we have had the opportunity to share our experiences with new and familiar faces!  Our own Jonathan organized a Campus Y Summer Project Presentation Night, which gave the stage to various organizations in UNC’s Campus Y on Monday night, allowing them to showcase their experiences and share their perspective on verano 2008.

As part of the Nourish International Honduras presentation, Jonathan and I spoke to the crowd in the lounge, accompanied with a slideshow, and played this nifty video at the very end.  It’s very short (we budget time carefully), but I think it still captures the spice of the summer.  I wanted to share it on the blog for your viewing pleasure.  So, enjoy!

Find more videos like this on The Nourish Network

A Good Harvest Takes Time

July 21, 2008 | Posted in 2008, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

Big news! Chuchi, the unofficial pet dog of the FIPAH office in Otoro has given birth to puppies!  The strange thing is that during the whole visit, we were all perfectly unaware that she was with chil… uh, pup.  While contemplating this happy occasion, I began to wonder what else was growing in Otoro without us knowing, and realized that much of our work there was all about beginnings.  We taught English lessons with the intent to inspire the youth to continue in their education, we cleared land that I’m sure already nurtures the seeds that mean vitality for so many people, and we started relationships that are sure to continue for a very long time.  I’m beginning to understand that although we still have much work we would like to do with our partners at FIPAH, much of our project this year was about the unseen.  Sometimes the best things need a little time to grow, and I believe that the seeds planted in Honduras and within all of us will continue to surprise us in beautiful ways as they mature and bloom.

It Doesn´t Have to End

July 12, 2008 | Posted in 2008, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

It has been awhile since we last checked in and much has happened.  Our project for this summer came to a close with a really touching going away ceremony where Diana and I got to show off our dancing skills to the whole FIPAH community, including our other half from Otoro.  I won´t go into to the somber goodbyes and the striking absence of our dear friend Francisca, whose baleada making skills (unrivaled by any) personally sustained the Yorito group for 5 weeks.  We spent some time evaluating our project while lounging around which is where this post really comes to a head.

During the evaluation there were (of course) differences of opinion on a variety of small issues but one thing stood out: the team´s commitment to working towards continuing Nourish´s relationship with the wonderful people at FIPAH.  All of us were continually impressed by the level of integration FIPAH has with each community in which it works and the excellent work guided by consideration of all possibilities to help better those communities.  At the moment we are preparing a report that will go over what we did this summer and some ways to continue our work which we hope to have posted on the blog by the end of the month.  Until the fall we will continue discussing the direction of this partnership before presenting it to the UNC International Projects Committee.  Regardless of what happens, we will continually remember the people of Yorito and Otoro and the invaluable things we have learned by living and working with them.  Such things do not escape you.  For example, on a bus in Guatemala yesterday I couldn´t help kicking my foot back a bit and mouthing the words to “Mi Vecinita”, one of my famed dance numbers courtesy of Rio Arriba.  I´m finding it hard to wrap anything so special up so I´ll leave it at this – ¡Que le vaya bien!

A Visual Story

July 9, 2008 | Posted in 2008, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By



June 27, 2008 | Posted in 2008, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

Today is our last in Otoro for this trip, but there is much more to do here. Only three percent of the people in the surrounding communities completed a single year of high school and less than half a percentage point ever stepped foot in a university, according to numbers compiled from FIPAH interviews.

From what we have seen in our English classes, this does not happen from lack of desire. We have met students who walk three hours each way, up and down mountains to get to seventh grade classes. They have hung on to our every word, and when we leave they will go back to listening to their English CD and using their English books. But once they finish 9th grade here, they usually run out of options. Campanario 2, a gorgeous community with a road that is uncrossable when it rains, is 16 km from the nearest high school. As a result, only two people of 93 interviewed by FIPAH have gone to high school and none to a university.

FIPAH and Educatodo are working to increase opportunities for rural youth in Honduras. A better educated generation of Campesinos could do wonders for communities which scrape by without electricity and at times with only one bed for families of 8. The desire exists, but someone needs to give the kids a chance.


To Be Hondureña

June 25, 2008 | Posted in 2008, Honduras, Michigan, UNC | By

Reflecting on my trip so far and realizing how quickly it seems to be coming to an end, I realized that one thing has remained uniquely constant: my continuously growing respect for the many Honduran women I’ve met and befriended here in Jesus de Otoro and the surrounding communities.  At 9:20 pm I find myself a wilting gringa after a night of a little less sleep than usual and a full day of Cambio Climatico Linea Base interviews.  This however never seems to be the case with the women here, who posess an inner strength and work ethic unlike any I’ve ever seen.  Countless times I’ve been amazed how tirelessly these Hondurenas work, and the past weekend spent constructing the greenhouse in Ojo de Agua was no exception.  After a day of working on the greenhouse in Ojo de Agua followed by a lively “culture night” with the community, I could have slept in until almost noon.  However I was awoken by the sound of beans and tortillas cooking in the kitchen and the happy morning greetings of Dona Isi’s large family at about 6:00 am.  I lay in my sleeping bag thinking about how even this morning was a late start for Dona Isi, who usually has to wake up at 4am, prepare breakfast for her family, and make the hour and a half journey (mostly walking on a steep mountain path) to the FIPAH office in Otoro.  Many of the women here wake up first in the morning to begin cooking (which is a much more substantial task when literally all of the food is prepare from scratch), take care of most of the house affairs, wait until everyone else is fed before eating, and are most often the last to go to sleep.  As I hopelessly try to keep up with these women I can only hope that some of their quiet strength will rub off, and after 5 weeks here I am only beginning to understand what it means to be a Hondureña.