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Nourish International

Thankful for our National Office Team

November 16, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office | By

Last month, we learned about some of the scary truths that people living in extreme poverty face every day. Whether it is a lack of clean water, food or shelter, issues like these remind us to be thankful of what we have and also motivate us to make an impact in the world. Those involved in Nourish have proven that they just can’t turn a blind eye to some of these frightening statistics.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we want to dedicate this month to those individuals and groups that we are thankful for: our partner organizations, students, alumni, supporters, board of directors and National Office team. We also want this series to be interactive. Nourish community, please comment on blog posts and give your thanks for the different members of the Nourish community!

This week Nourish would like to thank our National Office Team.  Along with fostering a sense of community in the office and throughout the network, our staff members dedicate their day to day to supporting our partner organizations, mentoring our student and connecting the network. Each staff member brings a unique background and skill set to their work at Nourish, and we are thankful for their dedication.

Additionally, you may not know this about our staff: Three of our staff members are on the Nourish International Fellowship, which is modeled after Americorps as a year of service. In exchange for a (small) stipend, these incredible individuals dedicate their time and energy to furthering the Nourish movement. Thank you to Molly, Allison and Alex for their service to Nourish. We are truly thankful to have you on the Nourish National Office Team.

Nourish is also lucky to have such a strong intern team. Since Nourish’s founding, we have relied on the support and volunteer hours of our interns. Interns are responsible for grant writing, public relations, event planning, administrative work and much more. Fun fact you make not know about our staff: Half of our current staff members were once interns at Nourish National. Can you guess which ones? We like to say that’s proof that our internships can land our interns awesome jobs post-graduation!

Thank you to the Nourish National Office Team for your tireless work for our organization. Also, shout out to past Nourish staff and interns – we are where we are and building what we’re building today because of your work.

Thankful for Cargill

November 13, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office | By

Last month, we learned about some of the scary truths that people living in extreme poverty face every day. Whether it is a lack of clean water, food or shelter, issues like these remind us to be thankful of what we have and also motivate us to make an impact in the world. Those involved in Nourish have proven that they just can’t turn a blind eye to some of these frightening statistics.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we want to dedicate this month to those individuals and groups that we are thankful for: our partner organizations, students, alumni, supporters, board of directors and National Office team. We also want this series to be interactive. Nourish community, please comment on blog posts and give your thanks for the different members of the Nourish community!

This week we would like to thank one of our our supporting foundations, Cargill. Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. The company has grown to become one of the largest privately-owned businesses, providing food, agricultural, risk management, financial, and industrial products and services around the globe. Cargill is committed to operating responsibly across the agriculture, food, industrial and financial markets by serving as a global leader in nourishing people. They support long term solutions to hunger, increasing access to education for the underprivileged, and projects that protect and improve accessibility to water resources.

The foundation has generously funded our local chapters in North Carolina. We are grateful to have formed such a strong partnership with an organization that is committed to our cause.

To Cargill and all the foundations that have supported our cause, we could not thank you enough. We are appreciative for your tireless work in making a positive impact in the world!

Thankful for our Student Leaders

November 5, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office | By

Last month, we learned about some of the scary truths that people living in extreme poverty face every day. Whether it is a lack of clean water, food or shelter, issues like these remind us to be thankful of what we have and also motivate us to make an impact in the world. Those involved in Nourish have proven that they just can’t turn a blind eye to some of these frightening statistics.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we want to dedicate this month to those individuals and groups that we are thankful for: our partner organizations, students, alumni, supporters, board of directors and National Office team. We also want this series to be interactive. Nourish community, please comment on blog posts and give your thanks for the different members of the Nourish community!

This week, Nourish thanks the student leaders. Nourish has many people involved in its work, with the biggest contributor being the 500+ students across 28 college campuses that work with us. During the school year, the students lead awareness building events on their campuses about global poverty. Students run creative Ventures to raise funding for their summer Projects.  Students plan the Projects and determine partnerships with organizations around the world that maximize their resource contribution and impact.

Students are the ones who work hands-on with communities, creating social change before they graduate from college. Without our students’ hard work, Nourish would not have been able to build family run greenhouses in Ecuador, provide learning kits for elementary students in Honduras, construct a local health clinic in Peru and much more. Additionally, without the hard work of our students leaders, the Student Advisory Board would not be the strong entity that it is today.

Students are the driving force in our movement, and for that, we are thankful. 

 

Thankful for our Partner Organizations

November 1, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office | By

Last month, we learned about some of the scary truths that people living in extreme poverty face every day. Whether it is a lack of clean water, food or shelter, issues like these remind us to be thankful of what we have and also motivate us to make an impact in the world. Those involved in Nourish have proven that they just can’t turn a blind eye to some of these frightening statistics.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we want to dedicate this month to those individuals and groups that we are thankful for: our partner organizations, students, alumni, supporters, board of directors and National Office team. We also want this series to be interactive. Nourish community, please comment on blog posts and give your thanks for the different members of the Nourish community!

With this first post in the series, we would like to thank our partner organizations. We implement many successful projects each summer alongside incredible organizations, and we could not have the type of impact without these crucial partnerships. At Nourish, we believe in empowering communities towards sustainable change, and we have been fortunate enough to find partner organizations who hold these same values.

Our partner organizations are led by local leaders who know what their communities needs and wants; additionally, they identify effective ways of addressing poverty in their community and then advocate for that idea. This past summer, we worked with amazing organizations such as Global Health Network, Triple Salto, ABAN, MOCHE, Project Amazonas and more. Our partner organizations represented 16 different communities in a dozen countries around the world. They committed time and resources into their partnerships with Nourish International, teaching our student leaders so much more than how to build a latrine or how to interact with their cultural norms. They connected with our students on a deeper level, extending a warm welcome to join their communities and their lives.

To each and every partner organization we have ever worked with, thank you a million times over. We are so grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with these incredible organizations who are working tirelessly to make the world a better place.

Students, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog post for your partner organizations! We are sending this post out to all of our partners as a thank you, and we’re sure they would love to hear from you!

Scary reality: No Healthcare

October 24, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office | By

Halloween is fast approaching, which means costumes, candy, haunted houses, scary movies and more. As Nourish staff thought about what we could feature in October, we kept circling back to the idea, what is truly scary? For us, our students, alumni and supporters, what is truly scary is extreme poverty. This month, we will highlight the frightening statistics that are many peoples’ reality. But don’t read in despair- we will also highlight the work that Nourish is doing to address these issues! Read on for the sixth part in our series. You can find the rest of the series in our blog.

Imagine a world where you are sick… and can’t get help

One third of the world’s population, or around 1.7 billion people, have inadequate or no access to healthcare and medicine. That means no corner pharmacy, urgent care, or hospital in your hometown. It means that treatable illnesses such as pneumonia could result in death. The antibiotics and vaccines that we rely on aren’t available, causing millions of preventable deaths every year. That means that every illness your child contracts is scary, because you know there is limited or no availability of a doctor.

Many of the people lacking healthcare access live in rural areas, such as the Rio Oroso region along the Amazon River in the Peru. In Summer 2012, the University of New Mexico partnered with Project Amazonas, a local organization dedicated to the prosperity of communities in the Amazon River region to build a highly-needed healthcare clinic that will serve 4,000 people. The group also worked with Project Amazonas to distribute health surveys and teach preventative healthcare to local schools.

Tina, a project participant from UNM says, “Overall, I think the most important factor [when teaching healthcare to the community] to keep in mind here is the involvement of the community, as well as the respect for and preservation of their culture.” Read other great lessons learned on the project on our blog.

Nourish International and its community partners are nourishing the minds and bodies of those living in extreme poverty.

Scary Reality: No Schools

October 17, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office | By

Halloween is fast approaching, which means costumes, candy, haunted houses, scary movies and more. As Nourish staff thought about what we could feature in October, we kept circling back to the idea of what is truly scary? For us, and for our students, alumni and supporters, what is truly scary is extreme poverty. This month, we will highlight the frightening statistics that are many peoples’ reality. But don’t read and despair – we will also highlight the work that Nourish is doing to address these issues! Read on for the fifth part in the series. You can find the rest of the series on our blog.

Imagine that the local elementary school… doesn’t exist

Unbeknownst to reluctant grade-schoolers in America (“Mom, why do I have to go to school?”), education is a luxury in many parts of the world. Receiving education is widely regarded as one of the best ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty. However, access to school, payment for school fees and travel time pose barriers. That’s why 125 million school-aged children in the world are not in school. Around 60% of those not in school are girls. Not receiving an education or vocational training greatly limits job prospects, making those people more likely to be out of work and in poverty.

There are many wonderful organizations working to give children living in poverty the opportunity to receive an education. DJMV, working out of India, partnered with the Nourish UT Austin Chapter to teach students computer literacy, which is increasingly important in a digital world, and English. UT Austin students also led workshops on career development and took students on college visits. Read about the students’ transformations and the impact they had in the community in their blog.

Most of us have had the privilege of attending school all their lives. We believe that no one should be deprived of that opportunity, and are grateful for the many organizations we partner with that believe the same!

Scary Reality: No Shelter

October 12, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office | By

Halloween is fast approaching, which means costumes, candy, haunted houses, scary movies and more. As Nourish staff thought about what we could feature in October, we kept circling back to the idea of what is truly scary? For us, and for our students, alumni and supporters, what is truly scary is extreme poverty. This month, we will highlight the frightening statistics that are many peoples’ reality. But don’t read and despair – we will also highlight the work that Nourish is doing to address these issues! Read on for the fourth part in the series. You can find the rest of the series on our blog.

Imagine living without shelter

Food, water, shelter. These things are undisputed necessities to live. Imagine leaving work, and having no where to go. Imagine you’re sick but have no way to find shelter and take care of yourself. What would it be like to have no place to return to? It would be uncomfortable, and quite frankly, scary. Sadly, this is the reality for 640 million children around the world. One out of every three city dwellers lives in a slum. Those living in homes may not be secure – nearly one sixth of the world’s population lives without secure tenure. Lack of secure housing is linked to other issues, such as health, safety and the disempowerment of children and women.

Viva Nicaragua believes in the sustainable development of Nicaragua, including fixing the homes of its people. The University of New Mexico partnered with the organization in Summer 2011 to execute development projects including well construction, roof repairs, and latrine repairs at a school to improve the privacy of the children. In the traveling students’ blog posts, they reflect on the importance of shelter and the meaning of home as they implement their development Project.

Reflecting on her experience, Nicole of UMN says, “While I do have the opportunity to take Starbucks and Google for granted, I also have the opportunity to go to places like Nicaragua and start working on ways to improve conditions so that one day the people we helped will be able to take hot, running water for granted, too.” And, we hope, in their own homes!

Many thanks to Viva Nicaragua for the work that you are doing every day to improve the lives of countless individuals!

People Behind the Project: Katie Faughnan

September 19, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Nourish Office, Summer Projects, UF | By

Katie with Hector and Jonathan, who participated in the Nourish-led English classes

This past summer Nourish Chapters partnered with 16 different community partners and went on 18 different Projects in 12 different developing countries. We here at the Nourish office could not be more excited about how successful the last three months have been! We want to take this opportunity to thank all the students, community partners and other contributors who made these Projects possible.

For the month of September, we will be dedicating our blogs to recognizing those individuals who made these projects possible. We’re proud to introduce part 3 of 4 in the series “People Behind the Project.” You can read last week’s post here.

Meet Katie Faughnan. Faughnan is from Washington D.C and is now a current Sophomore at the University of Florida majoring in Political Science and Economics. In her spare time, she loves speaking Spanish, reading, running, cooking and working with people. She is the Chapter Leader at UF and this past summer she joined her fellow Nourish members in Guatemala to teach business and computer skills in order to launch a sustainable jewelry business in the community!

Read about some of her experiences below.

Why did you decide participate in the project?

I decided to participate in the project due to my extreme passion for utilizing my abilities to provide more opportunities to a greater number of people. I wanted to work to give people a chance to have a better life, if they were willing to work for it. I also have a HUGE place in my heart for the culture and  people of Guatemala.

 What was your typical day like?

We woke up every morning around 7:30, ate a typical Guatemalan breakfast of black beans, tortillas, plantains, and eggs. Then we rode a van with other volunteers to get to Casa Del Alfarero (20 minute drive). Along the way we were able to witness the stark inequality that plagues Guatemala- nice shopping centers guarded by men with guns, right next to the ravine filled with trash scavengers, grafitti on walls insulting the corrupt government, high class gated communities only a kilometer away from slums so dangerous that the police even refuse to enter. We arrived at Casa Del Alfarero around 8:30 and right away got to work planning the day’s business classes. We generally taught two business classes, and one English class everyday, an hour each. In our down time, we planned future lessons, worked on the 42 page business book we wrote, went on house visits, and played with the kids of the community. On weekends we were able to go on excursions to take in all of beautiful Guatemala. We went to the historical Guatemalan city, Antigua, climbed a volcano, and went horse back riding on a black sand beach on the Pacific coast!

Did you achieve everything you hoped as a group? Any personal achievements?

I believe we achieved everything we hoped for as a group. We worked together and were able to use everyone’s strengths to work toward a common goal. I got to practice and better my Spanish, which was definitely a big personal achievement!

Is there a moment that you will never forget? Any favorite moments?

I will never forget the house visits that we made in the communities surrounding the trash dump – houses with tin roofs, curtains being the only thing separating people from the violent streets, six people sharing two beds, alcohol addiction, piles of junk everywhere, dirt/mud floors, lack of plumbing. Every single home we visited was without a patriarch due to gang activity and violence. There is no available quality public schooling. To me, this experience told me that working hard to achieve my goals and dreams is something that is completely, 100%, necessary – having all this opportunity and not taking full advantage of it it is doing an injustice to these people, so work hard simply because you CAN. Most of the world will never see the opportunity that Americans were born with, so we better do something great with it.

What did you take away from participating in the project?

I learned so much on this project from language, from culture to business skills. But, the biggest thing I took away is the power I possess to make the world a better place. I, a mere university student, have the ability to really make a difference in someone’s life, and will continue to put all that I have into doing so.

What did learn or what surprised you most while you were in Guatemala?

My views on development changed a lot while I was in Guatemala. I guess I used to think that change could be made more simply than I do now. After being in the poverty-stricken communities surrounding the Guatemalan city trash dump… I know that poverty is SO much more than lack of money. There, people are suffering from spiritual poverty, intellectual poverty, poverty of affection, poverty of the will, physical poverty, poverty of a support network, poverty of civic involvement, AND economic poverty. In order to make lasting change, equipped groups must come in with specific goals for solving these problems now and for future generations.

How do you hope your involvement in the project will impact the area?

I hope that the women in our business classes are able to start their own businesses, and stop relying on scavenging through the dump as a means of support. I hope these women learned the positive correlation between hard work and benefits. I hope that the book we wrote is able to be used time and time again for other groups to teach business classes, and is able to aid people in starting business now and in the future. I hope our work will contribute to jump starting the economy in the area, and provide people with more work opportunities!

Week 4, Community Collaboration

September 17, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Peru, UNM | By

We started off our week on our Sunday leisure day and went for a boat ride to the nearby lake in order to try and catch piranhas and see pink dolphins.  We were unlucky with the fishing (although we had some strange luck later) and just as we were going back up the river, we saw a spout of water shoot up into the air, hearing our guide Edwin shout, “dolfin, dolfin!” We never actually saw the dolphin, but we were close.

The next day we resumed work on the clinic site, moving brush and logs to burn piles, and clearing the area for the physical location of the clinic. We had constructed a massive teepee-like structure of sticks, logs, vines, and leaves, lighting it at the start of the day and constantly adding to it throughout.  The small pieces of ash floating down actually made it quite beautiful. The afternoon was filled with relaxation, conversing with our Peruvian crew, and doing yoga on the top of the bird observatory. The day began early, heading to the community of Santo Tomas to help with their community workday by cutting the grass with machetes.  For them, these community workdays represent a time to physically collaborate, as well as create a sense of communal cooperation for the betterment of their society. After the work was done, we all met in the shade for important discussions regarding the community. The president and the law enforcer talked about the importance of the building of the clinic and how it would not only better their community, but all of the people surrounding Rio Orosa. They emphasized that putting in volunteered time towards the construction of the clinic now, would allow for future economic stimulation and health for their children and future generations.  Not only this, but the more that communities are involved with the construction of the clinic now, the more they will be invested in its future and sustain it later.

Burning the cleared foliage.

After our discussion that would hopefully inspire more people in the community to collaborate more with Nourish International and Project Amazonas, we returned to Madre Selva to find about five kids from the community starting tickle wars with us. Braiding, tag, and climbing to the bird observatory ensued and we seemed to create a lasting bond, because they continued to stop by in their family canoe.

Wednesday was our designated day for all of the communities to show up to the clinic site. We arrived and had about fifteen or so people come from the three communities. This was about one-third of the amount of people we expected to come. The community suggested that they needed more time before the workday in order to communicate with all of the community, because they are so spread out. They decided on another day one week from Wednesday. I did not catch a lot of the remainder of the conversation, because the version of Spanish that they speak in this area is much different than the Spanish I’ve been taught.  This could be because of its nearness to Brazil, therefore resulting in a greater likelihood for the influence of Portuguese on the language.

This week we had three new people from the U.S. arrive to Madre Selva. Their purpose was simply tourist-based, but their stay has been interesting, because of their collaboration with Project Amazonas. Their small excursions have been biologically informative and respectful of the wildlife. They have observed many of the species on their wildlife tours led by Project Amazonas’ specialists. This is one good example of the ecotourism taking place in the area—it’s uninvasive, sustainable, and provides money for Madre Selva to fund future projects and upkeep the biological reserve for the locals and all others who come to Madre Selva.  Thursday, Kelsey and I helped with a project in Madre Selva, while the rest of the crew went to survey part of the Santo Tomas community. Daniel’s surveys included questionnaires about what types of health problems the locals see as the most prominent in their society and whether or not they felt that the introduction of technology would be beneficial for the community’s overall health.  So far, they’ve gotten very positive feedback from all they’ve talked to about it, and Daniel hopes to incorporate the use of research technology and IPads in the new clinic that will be built.

This is a controversial topic and study as a whole. It leads me to wonder how far is too far with the introduction of Western medicine into these cultures.  This is a very complex and layered point of discussion, but it’s worth looking into.  Of course the community’s perspectives are the most important and viable in this situation—and so far, the feedback has been positive.  Whether or not this feedback is biased or not, or accurate is another thing that will need to be attended to in the future. The second point of interest here for me is how much of their medicinal practices are going to be taken into consideration when the clinic is up and running? Our hope for the clinic is to get the local shaman highly involved. Not only would it preserve their cultural practices of medicine, but also it would (hopefully) have more of the communities’ support.  Because so much of this society is reliant upon and trusting of the shaman’s practices, their faith in the effectiveness of the medicine and the clinic as a whole will be raised.  Overall, I think the most important factor to keep in mind here is the involvement of the community, as well as respect for and preservation of their culture. This will allow for a diverse population to survive and a more harmonious relationship with other people as a whole.

The weekend ended with a beautiful day of community work with Nuevo Israel at the clinic site. There was a fantastic turnout of about fifty people and we were able to dig out a large chunk of land for the leveling in preparation for the base of the clinic. Afterwards, we gathered with the people to discuss a possible future workday.  They presented some concerns about having to work with the neighboring communities.  This was somewhat disconcerting to hear, especially because the clinic was going to be constructed with the idea that it’d be for people all along Rio Orosa and in the Amazon area.  This was explained to the people at that time with the intention of bringing a more harmonious view to the project and a sense of collaboration with the communities.  My hopes are that this clinic will not only improve the people’s health, but also the community relationship and regards for other people.

–Tina

Week 3 from the Amazing Amazon

September 17, 2012 | Posted in 2012, Peru, UNM | By

6/6/2012

The mud is slippery when attempting to jump down off the motored wooden boat we have been so accustomed to traveling inside.  Although I always strive for dramatic, I feel like the boat hits the muddy shore and we pile out like troops rushing Normandy-and then I wake up and realize that we are just putting in three really hard hours of sweat in the exhausting heat of the Peruvian Amazon.

 

Troublesome trail to and from the boat.

 

Slipping in the mud, we climb our twenty feet up the embankment to reach a plateau that we have been clearing, of high ground, that will be the layout for the clinic.  Today is a work day, so ten community members are already working on digging the remaining roots out of the ground of the previously machetied forest we cleared.  Having community involvement like this really sets up the correct image in my head:  one that reaches both sustainability when the clinic is constructed and also a community voice.

Working four hours aside the community was a very arduous task; these fellows are very talented with their machetes and have some better tools, like hoes.  The days here, however, seemed to be blurred into one-the work has been exhausting, and after, we retreat to Madre Selva biological station where we lose our minds in the biological beauty of the Amazon.  Today, a multi-colored frog was a definite highlight-it is hard to imagine a frog with more colors.

6/7/2012

Sleeping in until the normal time, 7, was a nice change from the previous mornings 530 wakeup call.  I definitely felt more rested, however, was not eager to go back into digging out roots in the heat.  Breakfast took a little longer than normal because it was the farewell day for our new friends:  two biology students from Iquitos, a Dentist, Mercedes-a Peruvian Obstetrics Doctor, and Aldo, the clinic’s architect who had all stayed with use for ten days.

Although the sounds of the jungle are anything but quiet, it is nice having others around and learning about different cultures.  I was definitely sad to seem them leave and will miss treating patients with Mercedes, talking to Aldo about Uruguay and his couch surfing experiences, the two biologists speaking all night and keeping us up, and the Dentist for some obvious reasons that Sam and I share.

After saying goodbye, we all hesitated on getting back onto the boat for the notorious four-minute ride to the clinic construction site.  With a late start, and much rain the last few days, the delay seemed well founded.  We finally boarded the ship, worked for three hours, and got back late for lunch, about 30 past one.  The rest of the day was filled with good lunch and getting caught up in our favorite books and some good conversation.  I am just hoping the monkeys come back through the station soon, that would be a great second round of intrigue.

6/8/12

Today was what I like to call a much needed dia de floja, or lazy day.  Deciding early in the day not to voyage to the worksite, we planned out our day.  Joey, Kels, and Tina took a hike to find wood, while Sam and I waited for them to get back so we could steal their boat driver and head off to Santo Tomas for research purposes.  Once they got back from the hike and we ate lunch, Sam and I took off to the community and began our surveys.

The people here are incredible, I have never felt an accumulation of kindness and security to this level.  This could be only an initial representation of the people here, however, I feel that it is genuine.  People are very welcoming and very open to answering questions and speaking to obvious ‘out of place’ foreigners.  After visiting about 6 homes and recording the interviews, we rendezvous with our drivers and headed back to Madre Selva for dinner.  Not so bad of a day-

My highlight of the day was when we interviewed the president of Santo Tomas and he gave us long tree branches of sugar cane as a gift.  We will make juice out of them soon….

6/9/12

Today our wake up call was super-early, you know why?? Community work day!! These days are awesome because we get so much done and the simple fact that the community is dedicated reassures us there is some sustainability efforts under way.  And on top of the former, it was a very refreshing day, cooler temperatures without much more than a drizzle of rain.

After a long morning of work, a few of us went straight for the bird tower to rest prior to lunch.  Sure enough at about 1300, we heard our loud call for ‘almuerzo’ echo across the rainforest and into our hungry ears.  Now we had to wake up and crawl down four flights of rotting stairs to feed our appetite.

The bird tower.

I had been excited throughout the day because it was movie night, and we watched the second Harry Potter film prior to bed, and about three of us stayed up for the entire movie.  The sounds here are indescribable-something that needs to be experienced and embraced.  Every night new birds and strange noises from bats, frogs, monkeys, etc. illuminate the biodiversity that swallows our little bungalow into a fierce jungle.  I for one cannot believe how many different sounds are continuously ebbing in and out of my ear, however, the excitement of what I may hear next keeps going to bed an adventure in itself.

6/10/12

Today I woke up early to read while the rest of our party slept in from a long night playing cards and engaging in conversation.  After breakfast, I jumped on the boat with Edwinn and took off for Comandancia to continue my research.  To my amazement, the same attitude and outlook among all of the people I interviewed transcended across, even when health issues and unemployment are rampant and the norm for much of the people.

I returned and ate lunch, however, a little tired and hoping to embrace more the jungle itself in peace, I stayed behind while the rest of the group went Pirahna fishing and swimming at a nearby lake.  Everyone stated, when they returned, that the lake was breathtaking to see during the day, however, no piranhas were caught, well, not caught yet!  Dinner was amazing, catfish in beer and a play on fried rice.  Overall, another great night that will not be too hot for sleeping-

The Lake.

6/11/12

Woke up and was ready to jump back to bed-I think we were all a little tired today.  Ate breakfast and then got to the work site, dug out more roots, burned some of the remains from our clearing, and organized wood piles for about three hours.  Then, we cut it a little short, and headed back to basecamp, Madre Selva to call it a day.  I think we are all getting a little tired of the clearing and want to get to the actual construction parts as soon as possible-it would be nice to see our progress to help the community in action, and not just a cleared stretch of land.

However, we can see great progress and it’s exciting to think we have been an integral part of the construction and materials of a clinic treating patients who have no close access to any type of healthcare.  Once we got back, we ate lunch and everyone drifted off into his or her own direction of laziness for the rest of the afternoon.  I decided to take a quick rest and then reed (really, read?).  Once deep in thought about the social structure of political systems and thriving inequity that serves the root causes of infectious diseases among the poor, a large group of monkeys came roaring through the trees right next to me.  So amazing, everyday in the Jungle is a new surprise of wonders that could probably never reach any surfeit-I take that back, deforestation is a calculable end to not only the most magnificent biodiverse regions of the world, but our supply of lively gasses (no pun intended).

6/12/12

Today the group went to cut grass early, as a community work session; I, on the other hand, took the day to go do my graduate research in Santo Tomas-which is performing interactive surveys to get a baseline of medical issues, technological interest, and possible clinic use.  The research has been very positive so far, and the people here are extraordinarily kind, open, and very smart.

At night, we went on a night hike and saw two really amazing snakes, six scorpions, poisonous tarantulas, and a number of other  cool insects and frogs.  Before leaving, Sam, Kels, and I saw an ant-eater-an amazing experience to see these incredible, and rare animals in the wild.  I would have liked to see it eat some ants, or as I like to joke, clean up the ants that Sam and I have a deal with in our room:  stay out of our food and we won’t kill you! If I used acronyms like LOL, I would probably put one in directly after that last sentence.

–Daniel