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Nourish International

Guat’s Up! UCLA-UCSC team wraps up in Guatemala

August 9, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Guatemala, Summer Projects, UCLA, UCSC | By

Just over two weeks ago we started the work week with finishing the bunny cage that tortured our souls (we tried to upload a photo of finished product, but it repeatedly caused the computer to freeze). It was a great way to begin a week full of completing projects. After finalizing the construction at San Bartolome in the morning we taught all three workshops (accounting, empowerment, and herbs) in the afternoon. The next day (Tues., July 22 if you’re following along), we conducted the accounting workshop at Sumpango and we were treated to delicious local cuisine made by the women of the cooperative.


Anna Goldby, Jeffrey Hsiao, Ashley Luna, and Marisa Galasso instruct a lesson on accounting to the Cooperativa de Mujeres in San Bartolome.


Tamale, beef, and soup made for the team by the women in Sumpango.

After lunch and a round of good-byes, we transferred back to Guatemala City and surveyed the site at Junkabalito. Over the next two days, we made, sanded, and sealed three tables, tilled ground and planted mother herbs, installed wire mesh inside a structure (note: getting the wire mesh inside the structure was a task in and of itself), and made two planter boxes from recycled pallets.


Allison Stafford, Paul Lee, Ashley Luna, and Jeffrey Hsiao secure additions to recycled pallets, which will be used as planters at Junkabalito in Guatemala City.


Allison Stafford installs wire mesh and nylon screening to the greenhouse frame at Junkabalito in Guatemala City.

The weekend greeted us early – with a trip to Maria’s finca south of Mazatenango. For two days, we were hosted by a fabulous family in a fabulous puebla and stayed in an amazing home built by Maria’s grandfather 60 years ago, who styled it with antique Spanish and Moroccan flair. There was a waterfall, a gorgeous pool, coffee production, vermicompost production, bats, and insanely delicious home-cooked food in a grand hall. It was difficult to leave this wonderland, but we headed back to the city.


Maria’s finca, a Spanish-Morrocan masonry estate with coffee production, on the side of a volcano in east Guatemala.


Marisa Galasso and Lilianna Romero enjoy the waterfall on Maria’s property in east Guatemala.

After conducting all three workshops for the women of Junkabalito on Monday, we had our first inauguration there that afternoon. It was great seeing the women excited about the work we did and eager to ask questions and provide feedback during the workshops.


The team celebrates with the women of Junkabalito at the ribbon-cutting event for the new greenhouse.


Anna Goldby and Jeffrey Hsiao instruct the women of Junkabalito how to create planters from recycled plastic bottles and adhere them to the wire mesh.


Lilianna Romero shows the women at Junkabailito the garden that was cleared, where the mother herbs are planted.

We traveled back to Antigua that night to conduct our first follow-ups in Sumpango and San Bartolome. On Thursday, we left early in the morning for a major vacation: Semuc Champey and Tikal. There are no words to describe the beauty and awe of these two places. “The pristine, sky-blue natural pools, waterfalls, underwater caves, cliff and bridge jumping, incredible ruins, and magnificent scenery” doesn’t do these places justice. They seem other-worldly.


Semuc Champey – gorgeous natural pools formed by a rushing river below the surface – as seen from the mirador after an intense 40-minute hike.


Swimming in the natural pools at Semuc Champey.


Looking east from the highest pyramid in Tikal.


Most of the crew in Tikal.

We’ve been back in Guatemala City now for the last few days. We visited Sumpango and San Bartolome Tuesday to do a final follow-up and answer questions the women had. We were again treated to delicious food, great conversation, and said our tearful good-byes por ahora – as we are all certain we’ll accept their offers to return. During a debriefing session with Byoearth, we all acknowledged how grateful and positive this experience has been. We are excited to see how next year’s team follows up and are anxious to stay in touch with each cooperativa.

As this trip wraps up, we’re bidding our final adieus and taking in all we can of this amazing country. We’re sad to leave and our good-byes are always tearful, but we’re looking forward to seeing our friends and family back home. Expect a reflective post in the coming weeks, and thanks for all your support, encouragement, and positive thoughts throughout.

Adios por ahora.

Working Hard, Playing Hard: Two Sites in Two Weeks and Excursions!

July 21, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Guatemala, Summer Projects, UCLA, UCSC | By

Wow, what a couple of weeks it has been for the UCSC-UCLA team in Guatemala. In five days, we constructed seven tables from scratch (well we didn’t cut down any trees, but each one of us learned how to use a chainsaw and cut the lumber into the right-size pieces); cut recycled plastic bottles and installed them on the mesh wall so they could be used as planters; weeded an overgrown area, made it arable and planted over 25 mother plants of 11 different varieties; finished the water collection, drainage, and irrigation system and buried the pipes under ground; built two benches from our own design and modified the construction as necessary on the spot; and taught two workshops about growing and maintaining herbs and empowerment for business.


Jeffrey Hsiao and Marisa Galasso remove debris from window frames so that new, stronger metal panes can be installed for increased security at the Sumpango site.


Jeffrey Hsiao and Byoearth’s Juan Pablo Pinto work on the water drainage system the UCLA-UCSC team designed and installed.


Allison Stafford, Ashley Luna, and Marisa Galasso clear and overgrown area of grass to plant mother plants for the herbs the women at the Sumpango cooperative will cultivate and sell.


Part of the completed space at Sumpango – water collection, drainage, and irrigation, tables, wire mesh walls, and hanging plants.


Lili Romero masters the chainsaw to create properly sized pieces of wood for the team’s construction projects in Sumpango.


Jeffrey Hsiao and Marisa Galasso build benches from the team’s own design.


(Left) Anna Goldby explains how removable pieces of wood added to each table can be conveniently used to create different kinds of surfaces to work on. (Right) Members of the cooperative listen to workshops about growing herbs and business skills.


Members of the Sumpango cooperative pose with the UCLA-UCSC team.

Oh! And we were rattled awake Monday, July 7 by an earthquake (slightly different feeling for us Californians because we’re now surrounded by three volcanoes). Not only that, every day that week one person was feeling down, yet the team pushed through and accomplished all our goals and more.

During the weekend, several of the team members went to Puerto San Jose and had quite an experience taking a camioneta (aka chicken bus) and local shuttle three hours to appreciate black sand, warm waves, ceviche, and pescado frito. The ride home was something none of us will forget, nor will our tailbones. But, hey we got one helluva deal.

This past Monday, the UCLA-UCSC team started working in San Bartolome at a cooperative that not only generates vermicompost, but also raises rabbits to use their excrement in the compost. We love being surrounded by these cute pals and the babies that boost morale. Within three days we cleared our workspace, installed and painted a blackboard, built two tables, hung wire mesh on a ledge, cut and hung plastic bottles on the mesh to be used as planters, planted 14 varieties of mother plants (in an area the women from the cooperative cleared for us – so sweet and so helpful), built two step stools, and began constructing a portioned rabbit cage. Please give us a few weeks before we can talk about the rabbit cage construction process :-/


Anna Goldby, Marisa Galasso, and Paul Lee cut and add chicken wire to the rabbit cage for the San Bartolome cooperative.


Jeffrey Hsiao and Ashley Luna saw lumber to create steps for the San Bartolome cooperative.


Anna Goldby, Lili Romero, and Mimi (the president of the cooperative in San Bartolome) plant mother plants.

We took a few days off during the week to travel to Lago de Atitlan with Maria and Lissette from our project partner Byoearth. Lago de Atitlan is an unbelievably gorgeous place and we had a blast there celebrating Ashley Luna’s 21st birthday. Ayyayayaayayayayayay XD.


Ashley Luna blows out the candles on her 21st birthday cake in Lago de Atitlan after the team surprised her with a celebration on the terrace of its hostel.

The team is truly working as an efficient and skilled unit, making each person and those involved with the project more proud each day. We can handle a chainsaw and circular saw like pros and love speaking with the women from the cooperatives and working with them to improve their working conditions. And, we absolutely love hanging out with each other and are really appreciating our time together – bickering, teasing, and laughing with (at?) each other like best friends and siblings.

Preparing for our Great Adventure

May 22, 2014 | Posted in 2014, Peru, Summer Projects, U Dayton | By

Welcome to our first blog post!

Before we continue our journey to Peru we thought it would be a good idea to share with our friends and family what we are doing in order to prepare for our trip, go over some of our thoughts and expectations overall, and give you all some information about how our blogs will be working throughout our seven weeks in Peru. Our hopes are to have a blog posted once a week throughout the course of our trip. This may not always be possible due to the spotty internet connections in the areas where we will be working but we will try our hardest to keep everyone up to date. We might even be able to post more often than that, we just are not sure about what we will have access to during this time. In addition, some posts may be general/overall updates from the both of us and some will have both Emily and I’s positions on how our trip has gone so far. For example, this post will have both mine and Emily’s take on how preparations are going and what each of us are excited and apprehensive about for our trip.

After graduating and returning home I have been applying to jobs, as well as making sure that I have everything I will need while in Peru. This has been a bit stressful because there are certain items that will be needed that my family and I have to go out and purchase because they are not things you can just find around your house. We have made multiple trips to the store and we still do not have everything I might need. In regards to the trip itself, I am very excited to embark on this journey. I have never done something as grand as this so I am still a bit nervous since I do not know what to expect. I am also very nervous about living with a host family by myself while there. Although I have taken multiple years of spanish lessons, I am still not fluent. This aspect makes me even more scared because I fear I will not be able to communicate adequately with the family. Also, being a shy person does not help either. I have been trying to practice my spanish skills as much as I can in the hopes that I will be a little better. I may be concerned about this aspect of the trip but I know overall this will be an amazing experience and I will have my close friend Emily there with me the entire way to help me through.

Hello all – Emily here!  Thank you for following our blog and I hope you have a great time reading throughout this journey Hannah and I are about to embark on (granted we are able to post each week).  For those that know me well, I am a planner that enjoys lists, details, and organization, but I know well that going on a trip such as ours cannot be planned to the T.  (As I am writing this blog post, I have about ten sheets of paper with different lists surrounding my computer). Finally, this past senior year I began living life more spontaneously, such as a last minute (I mean 20 minutes before we left) trip to Memphis for UD’s Elite 8 game with my best of friends with no game plan.  We figured out living situations when we arrived and lived the entire weekend in the present moment.  This taught me a lot about how life is spontaneous and we cannot plan life, rather live in the present and enjoy every moment.  Additionally, for me, it represented that living each moment of life is something that will never be regretted and life cannot be limited because of our fears and plans.  I do not enjoy living life with expectations because you will be disappointed most of the time, so going into this journey I have no expectations, only excitement and a bit of nerves.  Hannah and I were just discussing the fact that there are about two weeks left until we leave and it is hitting us that this is actually happening!  This journey means the world to me because I am passionate about creating a world that I want to bring future generations into; one full of peace, love, happiness, strength, faith, and a caring humanity.   I am blessed to be able to share this journey with Hannah and I cannot wait to see what the two months in Peru has in store for us!IMG_4174

Emily and Hannah

University of Dayton Chapter

Nourish Named Co-Host of the Millennium Campus Conference 2014

May 12, 2014 | Posted in Nourish in the News, Nourish Office, Office Updates | By

This year Nourish International has been selected as a Co-Host for the Millennium Campus Conference.  The MCC is an invite-only conference for student organizations that address global development.  The conference is centered around the UN Millennium Development Goals and how student organizations are working to achieve them.  The conference also gives Millennium Delegates the opportunity to partner with peer organizations, national institutions, and global networks.  It brings together over 2,000 student leaders and over 50 world-renowned speakers all cooperating to accomplish eight goals that will improve the global standard of living.   The conference will take place on the beautiful campus of Lynn University, located in Boca Raton, Florida.


Students will take part in this amazing collaboration from Friday, October 10th to Sunday, October 12th.  At the conference, students will debate issues, such as serving versus donating, and have the opportunity to network with organizations from around the world at the Change the World Fair.  Furthermore, the conference will include world-renowned speakers, including Nicholas Kristof, Kristin Davis, and Dr. Paul Farmer.  On the last day, students will have their voices heard as the Policy Paper on youth perspectives is presented to experts.  The conference will end with closing ceremonies focused on a roundtable discussion.


This conference is a great experience for any student interested in sustainable global development, which is why we are inviting you to attend and join the movement.


2014 Summer Projects

February 7, 2014 | Posted in Nourish Office, Summer Projects | By

Nourish students from our 45 chapters across the country have solidified their partnerships for Summer 2014. We seek to partner with organizations whose missions align with ours to make a lasting impact on extreme global poverty.

Over the next few weeks, we will announce all of our 27 Projects for Summer 2014!

Boston University and Hope College—Uganda Rural Fund

Boston University and Hope College will partner up with the Uganda Rural Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and sustainable development of communities in Uganda. Their goal is to empower impoverished youth and women in Uganda’s rural communities. This Project will help the community to build kindergarten classrooms and teaching classes.


Cal Poly Pomona and Claremont Colleges—Better Family Foundation

Cal Poly and Claremont Colleges will be working with the Better Family Foundation in Fundong, Cameroon. BFF is an apolitical NGO dedicated to empowering families socially and economically with education, counseling, and financial support for local families in need. This Project involves building a water system expansion in their community and conducting public health outreach and education.


University of Wisconsin and University of Kansas—Moche

University of Wisconsin and University of Kansas will be traveling to Ciudad de Dios, Peru to work with Moche. Moche is a non-profit organization invested in improving the standardof living in impoverished communities, promoting research and education, and protecting the archaeological sites in Peru. This Project will build compost latrines and run health fairs in a rural community. This is the 7th year that Nourish International and Moche have partnered together.


Ohio State University –Triple Salto

Ohio State University will be working with Triple Salto in Quito, Ecuador. Triple Salto is a non-profit that works with the government, the private sector, and citizens to create solutions to social, environmental, and economic needs, which guarantees sustainability. This Project involves the construction of greenhouses for a community in Quito. The greenhouses will provide fresh produce for the families, which, in turn combats malnutrition. The excess will also serve as an extra source of income for the families selling it. Nourish and Triple Salto are excited to continue working together in the 6th year of our partnership.


University of Pennsylvannia and Cornell University – Arajuno Road Project

University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University will be working with the Arajuno Road Project. The project will involve teaching at a summer camp, creating community gardens, and repairing school bathrooms. The Arajuno Road Project supports children and their families by providing quality English instruction, improving the infrastructure and environment of their schools, and working on community development and conservation programs in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

 You can learn more about all of our 2014 projects in the Giving Challenge.





Summer Project Spotlight: Health Care in Peru

August 23, 2011 | Posted in Summer Projects | By

In Peru, more than 14 million people lack access to health care. A lack of other basic necessities, such as clean water and proper sanitation, exacerbate this problem by causing illnesses that are difficult to treat. Typhoid fever, hepatitis A, dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, and leptospirosis are all commonly contracted diseases.

This summer, the Nourish chapters at Ohio State University and Yale University teamed up with nonprofit MOCHE, Inc., to address health care access in Peru. The two project teams traveled to the Moche Valley to construct a health clinic that will provide subsidized and free services to 10,000 poor Peruvians. The clinic will be run by the local community, making it sustainable. Additionally, the project teams hosted health fairs to educate the local people about maternal health, hygiene, and nutrition.

health clinic construction peru

MOCHE, Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the standard of living in impoverished communities, preserving archaeological sites, and promoting research and education on the rich cultural heritage of Peru. To do this, MOCHE forms partnerships with poor Peruvian communities. In exchange for education programs and funding for development projects, the communities agree to protect specific local archaeological sites.

The two project teams have returned from Peru after successfully completing their projects. This was OSU’s second summer working with MOCHE and Yale’s first.

You can read about the OSU chapter’s experiences by clicking here and the Yale chapter’s experiences by clicking here.

Summer Project Spotlight: Computer Literacy in Honduras

August 19, 2011 | Posted in Summer Projects | By

Facebook, e-mail, Twitter, Google, blogs, instant messaging, Skype, chat rooms, discussion boards…the average American youth has so many methods of communication all available at the click of a mouse. These outlets give youth access to a vast array of information and allow them to connect to their peers and world in new ways.

In many developing countries, the Internet is still a new concept. Can you imagine how hard your life would be without the Internet? How would you search for a job? How would you keep in touch with friends and family? How would you find a recipe for dinner? The Internet gives humans access to so many resources that improve quality of life, yet many people do not have access to the Internet and do not know how to use it.

This summer, the UNC Nourish chapter and two students from Yale and Brown Universities teamed up with nonprofit FIPAH to bridge the communication and information gap between developed and developing countries. The project team taught English, computer skills, and Internet literacy to Honduran youth in the Yorito and Jesus de Otoro regions of Honduras. The team also taught the youth about photography to further facilitate connections between the youth, their communities, and the wider world.


This is UNC’s fourth consecutive summer working with FIPAH, or the Fundacion para la Investigacion Participativa de Agricultores de Honduras. “Nourish UNC’s longstanding, fruitful partnership with FIPAH models the kind of mutually beneficial exchange our chapter seeks to build in our relationships with every partner organization,” says one project member. “We keep sending teams to Honduras because FIPAH never fails to propose compelling projects and our interns return to the US every year raving about their experience.”

One UNC student has continued to work with FIPAH outside of Nourish. Rising senior Claire Kane, who established Nourish’s FIPAH partnership in 2008, returned a second time to film a documentary about the organization.

This year’s project team has returned from Honduras, and you can read about their experiences on their blog by clicking here.

Summer Project Spotlight: Housing for Nicaraguan Women

August 2, 2011 | Posted in Summer Projects | By

In Nicaragua, a large portion of the population lives in poverty. Poor women, disadvantaged  due to  both their gender and their economic status, often operate on the margins of society. Lacking economic opportunity, these women struggle to care for and support their families. Basic needs like food and shelter are often not met.

This summer, the Nourish chapter at the University of New Mexico teamed up with Nicaraguan nonprofit Casa de la Mujer to provide housing for women and their families in Nicaragua. The project team is currently in Nicaragua building and improving upon houses. Deeds to the homes will be sold at little cost to female heads of household, providing the women with a property investment and increasing their independence. The women will then be able to focus on other needs in their lives.

Nicaragua construction

In addition to constructing safe shelters for Nicaraguan women, Casa de la Mujer addresses other needs, providing these women with legal resources, job training, and other services. The organization also educates women about domestic violence, health and nutrition.

The project team is currently hard at work in Nicaragua. Despite the hard manual labor required to build the houses, the team has still found time and energy to experience the culture of Nicaragua through holiday celebrations and sightseeing trips. Read about their experiences on their blog by clicking here.

Summer Project Spotlight: Educating Orphans in Uganda

July 25, 2011 | Posted in Summer Projects | By

In 2005, a young and enthusiastic Ugandan woman named Jenifer Tumwizere found herself deeply troubled by the number of orphaned and neglected children in her community. Tuition fees kept these children from attending government-run schools, leaving them without access to education or constructive daily activities. It was then that Jenifer decided to start the House of Hope.

Jenifer began House of Hope by setting aside wages from her job as an English teacher. House of Hope now serves 250 children and has grown into a full primary education school offering 10 grades, daily nutritious meals for staff and students, medical care, and social service to ensure safe home environments for students. The House has also created 28 much-needed full-time jobs for residents in the Masaka District.

Uganda House of Hope

This summer, the Nourish chapter at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville teamed up with the House of Hope to cultivate farmland and construct a water tank to provide sustainable nourishment, fresh water, and income for the House. The project team also built a new schoolhouse. All of these additions will help the House sustain itself for years to come, ensuring that orphaned children gain an education while having their basic needs met.

Click here to read the project team’s blog about their experiences in Uganda. Though they experienced some challenges, they were excited to work directly alongside Jenifer and even found time to do some sight-seeing at the Equator, Kampala, and Lake Benyoni.

New Nourish Board Members

July 21, 2011 | Posted in Office Updates | By

The Nourish International Board of Directors recently experienced some exciting membership changes. Though the board is sad to see student board member Pallavi Garg leave, they are excited for her as she begins law school this fall.

“Having a student board member is a great idea,” says Garg. “It introduces a key perspective to the board and the national office. Board members have the same propensity as chapters of getting bogged down in financial or logistical details during meetings. I felt that I was able to remind people to keep the big picture in mind during meetings. It also helps bridge the gap between chapters and the board, and provide feedback for the national office’s operational perspective.”

In her time with Nourish, Garg also helped create Nourish’s Alumni Committee and served as the University of Texas-Austin chapter’s volunteer director and CEO.

In keeping with the notion that Nourish is a student-led movement, the board decided to add not one, but two new student members to replace Pallavi. Kyle Forrester is a sophomore at Ohio State University majoring in business with a minor in leadership studies. Kyle led his chapter’s project to Peru in 2011 and will be serving as the human resources director for the 2011-2012 school year. He is excited to get his feet wet in the world of nonprofits and wants to facilitate inter-chapter communication so that the passions and techniques that empower Nourish members can be shared. Outside of Nourish, Kyle enjoys playing ukulele, reading, and running around outside.

Kyle Forrester

Claire Boychuck, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the second new student to join the board. Claire holds an IB diploma from Pearson United World College and is currently studying geography and Chinese. She is passionate about the role of images, words and rhetoric in framing poverty and development. In her first year at UNC, she founded the Nourish-FIPAH Honduras partnership, co-led student teams to Honduras in 2009 and 2010, and served on the UNC Executive Board. As part of the Nourish–FIPAH partnership, Claire co-produced a documentary film, Saving the Seed, which explores the struggles of rural farmers in Honduras to control their food supplies and livelihoods. The film highlights one organization’s pioneering model for rural community development.

Claire Boychuk

Garg is excited to see two students taking places on the board. “The expansion of this position is a great plan and I am excited to see it’s impact on chapters,” she says. “I hope the future student board members will further bridge the gap between the national structure and chapters.”