When I met Nathan at the Study Abroad Fair at Duquesne University, it took him 5 minutes and 7 pictures of the Amazon and Tapajos Rivers to convince me that I needed to spend a little time there. Brazil has always intrigued me, but it always seemed so far away, difficult to get to, and expensive. But after Nathan laid out the program to me, I thought, this was my chance to live on the Amazon, with a Brazilian family, learning Portuguese from locals.
On October 14, 1992 – the fateful end of the last Pirates winning season – the communities that Amizade works with looked very differently than they do today. In Brazil, the average person lived on less than a dollar per day. In Ghana, the community had no electricity, paved roads, or running water. The internet, ATMs, and cell phones didn’t exist at all in Tanzania, the GDP growth rate was nonexistent, swing, with bombings and targeted murders a weekly experience. To some of Amizade’s communities, 20 years ago wasn’t much different than 100 years ago.
I met the student group at the Phoenix airport and their professor after renting a 12 passenger van. The Amizade…
One can read hundreds of quotations and advice about the benefits of travel, using the world as your classroom and venturing outside your comfort zone. But what happens when you have the privilege of meeting others from around the world…right in your own backyard?
In May of 2013, students from West Virginia University Honors College traveled to Santarem, Brazil with Amizade Global Service-Learning. While…
While in Jamaica on an Amizade Global Service-Learning program with John Carroll University, we had the privilege of visiting schools and witnessing firsthand the triumphs and trials of the education system. There is no way to describe the range of emotions and observations I experienced in my short yet eye-opening ten hours I spent with the students but it is safe to say that my experience in these schools rekindled my passion for education and social justice that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
I find myself at the end of what has been, by far, the 3 most exciting and educational months of my life, and I’ve been given a simple task: write a blog about my experience. In the end though, all I can do is to try and to hope that I will be able to convey even a smidgen of the amazing experience that has been my life in Kayanga.
We had the pleasure of working with some very talented Matelot natives in exploring the local culture. Michelle, one of the founding members of the Dorca’s Women’s Group spent an afternoon demonstrating head wraps and dress wraps using a Parea, which is a piece of cloth that can be made of a variety of fabrics with different patterns that can be tied or pinned to create head wraps, dresses, skirts, shirts and other articles of clothing.
One of the questions I posed to Nathan Darity – Amizade’s Creative Director – the first time I talked to him to talk about an individual volunteer placement in Santarém, Brazil, a city I had never heard of before, was “Why would I need to pay to volunteer?” It seemed so counter-intuitive.
As 2012 comes to a close, we at Amizade would like to thank you for all the positive changes that you have helped bring about in our organization and throughout the world.