Updates from the Field
Spotlight on Service - Delaney Thull
Posted Mar 10, 2014
On a chilly early summer morning in January, I traveled to Huycho, a community of about 140 households. I went with Ober, the Cleaner Burning Stoves Project supervisor, and Ernestina, the Water Filters Project supervisor. The three of us were holding a charla with the community leaders to present the projects and gauge the community's interest in working with our NGO, ProPeru. We found ourselves seated on a small stage in the front of the village sala. Facing us, 12 women were seated along the left wall and 25 men were seated along the right. Ober and Ernestina led the meeting in rapid Quechua, with a sprinkling of Castellano Spanish added in. They explained how the stoves and filters function, as well as how they benefit health, family finances, and the environment. Afterward, we shook hands and greeted every person, leaving with the promise of returning the following week.
Spotlight on Service - Alissa Lopez Serfozo
Posted Mar 3, 2014
NIRMAN is truly a place that unveils itself to the willing participant. My first time stepping onto the colorful campus as a new intern, I felt apprehensive towards the rather overwhelming amount of opportunities available at my service site. My supervisor asked directly, "What do you want to teach here?" Frankly, I did not know where to start, so I just started.
All-throughout my first month, I immersed myself in the fast pace of teaching English and Arts to students of the primary section. I assumed that I had found my steadfast niche. Five months later, I realize my role has stayed the same in some aspects, while also having evolved dramatically.
I still teach the same two subjects, but have taken on additional classes in the secondary section (my classes range from grade 2-11). Moreover, the contributions I make to NIRMAN's community extend beyond the classroom.
VIDEO Group Update from India
Posted Feb 26, 2014
Our winter trip to Rajasthan, a state located on the Indo-Pakistani border, was a winding journey through historic cities, open landscapes, and rural villages. It was a trip that proved both beautiful and affecting. For our second group update, we thought nothing would better capture our thoughts than a video documenting the stories and experiences we collected throughout our two weeks there. The first leg of the trip took us through vast natural expanses to the old fort cities of Jaipur and Jaisalmer, and the second portion centered on our stay with the Garasia tribe near the Rajasthan-Gujarat border. Through the powerful connections that we made and experiences that we had, these sites in Rajasthan have become far more than just places on a map to us. We hope you enjoy the video, and feel for yourselves the wonder and awe of Rajasthan and its peoples.
Group Update From Peru
Posted Jan 30, 2014
Marking the halfway point of our program in Urubamba, Peru, we have decided to theme our second group Update from the Field on the complete sensory experience of living in the Sacred Valley. We hope our reflections on smell, taste, touch, sound, sight, and the sixth sense can provide a window into our daily lives and some of the encounters which define our time abroad.
Delaney Thull - Smell
A few weeks ago, I visited with my younger sister at home. She and her IB English class were discussing the following observation from Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible. “The air is just blank in America...You can't ever smell what's around you, unless you stick your nose right down into something.” My sister asked if this was true.
Group Update from Senegal
Posted Jan 22, 2014
In an amusing effort to be creative, our group has decided that we will all don the guise of our more edible counterparts (though I am sure my body is just as edible as a lime, it’s simply not socially appropriate to say so), and act out as parts of ceebujen - a delightfully dangerous and dangerously delightful dish and somehow relate it back to our experiences in Senegal. Heavy-handed metaphors have never really been a forte of mine, as such, for the sake of this much desired notion of creativity, I shall go where no human has ever ventured before; I shall abandon my humanity and assume the identity of a lime. Not just any lime, but a lime that can type!
Group Update from China
Group Update from Brazil
Group Update from India
Group Update from Peru
John Van Orden
The llama was standing next to an electronics store. This was the sight that greeted me as I turned down a busy street in Cuzco, the Incan capital of Peru. Momentarily taken aback, I realized for the first time the unique blend of culture that had now officially greeted me in Peru. There is a duality that exists here. The coexistence of seemingly disparate places and thoughts permeates my initial experience in Urubamba. It is the only place I know where you can photograph a palm tree surrounded by cactuses to the background of a looming, snow capped mountain.