A shared philosophy of mutual support and learning

All program coordinators dedicated to social justice and civic engagement are faced with the challenges of community engagement and community building due to the pandemic’s social distancing requirements. How do you connect with others and make substantive change in your community without being able to interact with others or physically enter into a community? My response: we must expand our definition of community.

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Tandana’s program coordinator conducts important research into supporting Latinx college students study abroad

As part of her master’s in international education, Nicole Melendez, one of The Tandana Foundation’s program coordinators in Ecuador, completed a research project called “Supporting Latinx College Students Study Abroad.” Melendez specifically looked at U.S. students who identify as Latinx who are studying at post-secondary institutions across America.

Continue reading “Tandana’s program coordinator conducts important research into supporting Latinx college students study abroad”

On the fruits of intercultural friendship: a story of Northeastern students in the Gualapuro community

As part of the Northeastern University Alliance of Civically Engaged Students (NU|ACES), a group of students visited the community of Gualapuro, Ecuador for a week-long service trip with The Tandana Foundation. I spoke with many members of the group about their experience on the trip and how the trip inspired them to launch several different fundraising efforts to benefit the community after returning. Continue reading “On the fruits of intercultural friendship: a story of Northeastern students in the Gualapuro community”

The translators behind the Tandana blog

There is a special network behind each story that is published on this blog. Since each blog is published in English, French, and Spanish, every story needs to be translated from its original language into the other languages. To do that, The Tandana Foundation is thankful for the help of many dedicated individuals from around the world who volunteer their time and skills in translation. Continue reading “The translators behind the Tandana blog”

A reminder that our power as humans lies in our relationships

 

It’s no secret that the life of a college student is hectic. This year, especially, I have become caught up in the hamster wheel of success and looking towards what is next. It seems like there are always essay deadlines and group project meetings. My Google calendar is filled with notifications and obligations. I have found myself asking, does my full schedule reflect how full my life is? Continue reading “A reminder that our power as humans lies in our relationships”

A look at the multiple phases of the community projects volunteers work on

The highlight of any Tandana volunteer venture is the community project. This is a project proposed by community members and then paired with an upcoming volunteer group that will best be able to contribute. As a Program Coordinator for The Tandana Foundation, it is one of my responsibilities to facilitate and organize the logistics of working on a project with community members and volunteers. We like to be upfront about what the expectations are for what a group can realistically accomplish during their stay. Continue reading “A look at the multiple phases of the community projects volunteers work on”

Ecuador experience an honor for volunteer gardeners

Earlier this year, The Tandana Foundation hosted a group of members from the Ohio Master Gardener Volunteers program. Pam Bennett, the Ohio State Master Gardener Program Director, wrote about about her experience on the trip in the Dayton Daily News. Her article is below. Continue reading “Ecuador experience an honor for volunteer gardeners”

The value of others’ different experiences, appreciating life outside our own city bubble

I had the opportunity to experience a trip facilitated by The Tandana Foundation to the community of Gualapuro, Ecuador, for my first spring break of college as part of the Northeastern University Alliance for Civically Engaged Students (ACES). I was stoked to experience a new culture and meet new people, but in preparing for traveling something continued to bother me. Continue reading “The value of others’ different experiences, appreciating life outside our own city bubble”

A creative chronicle of a volunteer’s trip to Ecuador

During a Tandana Foundation volunteer trip with the Ohio Masters Gardener group last year, Ed Gasbarre kept a journal chronicling what he did each day. From helping out on a farm to visiting with school children, and sampling the local cuisine, Ed creatively documented each experience with photos and drawings alongside his written description. Read excerpts from his journal below. Continue reading “A creative chronicle of a volunteer’s trip to Ecuador”

Lindsey Wilson College scholars share their service trip to Ecuador with Tandana via social media

Eleven students and two leaders from Lindsey Wilson College’s Bonner Scholar program recently traveled to Ecuador on a cultural learning and service trip organized by The Tandana Foundation. While living, working, and exploring the rural highland region, the hard-working group posted frequent updates on what they did each day onto their social media accounts. Below are the posts they shared with their followers. Continue reading “Lindsey Wilson College scholars share their service trip to Ecuador with Tandana via social media”

Forming bonds of friendship while working, playing together in Motilón Chupa

A group a students from ARCC, an organization that designs and operates programs exclusively for students, recently participated in a cultural learning and service trip with The Tandana Foundation in Motilón Chupa, Ecuador. During the week-long trip, the students were engaged with local community members through living, working, and playing alongside them via such activities as building a water tank, preparing pizza, and visiting with school children. As the group wrote in the following blog post, first posted on ARCC’s website, this engagement led to the creation of lasting bonds between themselves and the community members. Continue reading “Forming bonds of friendship while working, playing together in Motilón Chupa”

Making colada morada with my family!

Traditional food and drink are important aspects of a community’s culture. When volunteers travel to Ecuador and Mali with The Tandana Foundation, they are immersed in the local cultures of the communities they stay in, and often have the opportunity to not only sample the local cuisine, but also learn how to make it. In the following, Sarah Rothschild, Tandana’s Program Leader Fellow in Ecuador, shares the history and recipe behind a special holiday treat, called colada morada, prepared by her host mother, Mercedes Perugachi.
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‘One of the best trips I’ve ever had’

A student group from Bellbrook High School in Bellbrook, Ohio, traveled to Ecuador for a volunteer trip organized by The Tandana Foundation earlier this summer. During the trip, the students were able to participate in many cultural learning opportunities, including those based in indigenous Kichwa traditions and clothing, along with fun excursions to natural wonders around the highland region. In addition, they completed work on a service project at a local school in Tangali, where they also played in friendly soccer matches with local students. Below, one Bellbrook student, Hanna Bridges, reflects upon her time in Ecuador and why she hopes to return one day. Continue reading “‘One of the best trips I’ve ever had’”

Looking at life in a new way

Thirteen students, including two team leaders, and a university representative from Northeastern University joined the Tandana Foundation in highland Ecuador for a week-long service project earlier this year. To earn a spot on the trip, the NU students, who were all first-year students involved in a year-long service project in Boston, had to complete a competitive application process. While in Ecuador with Tandana, the passionate student group worked with community members to dig out a new water catchment system. The trip was highly successful, as much progress was made on the water system, but also on the relationships built between the NU group and  local residents. Below, one student, Emily Laliberty, reflects on how the trip impacted her after returning to daily life in the United States. Continue reading “Looking at life in a new way”

‘We will forever remember you, Agualongo!’

 

Sixteen teenage girls from the Traveling School (TTS) recently participated in a cultural learning experience in highland Ecuador, put on by the Tandana Foundation. During their weeklong stay at the end of February, the group of high school students lived and volunteered in the community Agualongo and continued their studies as part of a semester of travel to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Continue reading “‘We will forever remember you, Agualongo!’”

It’s all about the relationships

Volunteer trips can take many forms. Sometimes volunteers make lasting connections with local people, and other times they leave without building a lasting relationship. As Karen Graves explains below, the volunteer trips organized by the Tandana Foundation fall into the first category.  In the following blog, Graves shares her experience volunteering in Ecuador with Tandana, where she developed many friendships working alongside community members, as part of the Ohio Master Gardener trip this year. 

Continue reading “It’s all about the relationships”

A journey of health care and fun in the mountains of Ecuador

The Tandana Foundation has a health care program called the Healthcare Volunteer Venture (HCVV)- a program in which the foundation brings  groups of volunteers (both skilled and unskilled in the medical field) from the United States and Canada to provide a phenomenal mobile clinic in some of the indigenous communities of Highland Ecuador. The program happens twice a year, and the foundation held its 23rd and 24th mobile health care clinics in April and September of 2018.

Continue reading “A journey of health care and fun in the mountains of Ecuador”

A health care volunteer’s experience, told in poetic verse

Visiting the picturesque highlands of Ecuador enriched by the local culture, and inspired by living and working with community members is sure to cultivate creativity. Such was the case for a participant of a recent Health Care Volunteer Venture trip organized by the Tandana Foundation. While sharing her medical skills as part of a team providing medical care to local residents, Dr. Swati Biswas crafted a poem about her experience as a HCVV volunteer, which she presented to the group on the last day of the trip. In the beautiful lines of poetic verse below, Swati creates a unique picture of life in Ecuador, as she reflects on all that she has seen and done, and the people she met along the way. Continue reading “A health care volunteer’s experience, told in poetic verse”

Making my own story in Otavalo

Participating in volunteer trips to different countries enables live encounters with diverse cultures and communities. During one of the Tandana Foundation’s recent Health Care Volunteer Ventures trips, a young participant learned first hand how these personal experiences can broaden a person’s understanding of the world beyond what they may be used to. She shares her unique story of volunteering in Otavalo, Ecuador, in the following blog post. Continue reading “Making my own story in Otavalo”

Tandana is unity

The Tandana Foundation is a network of diverse people and communities across the world. It is the strength of this network working together that allows Tandana and its partners to achieve community goals, while fostering caring intercultural relationships based on mutual respect and responsibility. On the last day of a recent Gardening Volunteer Venture trip to Padre Chupa, Ecuador, Teresa Marrinan reflected upon her understanding of who Tandana is. In the following blog post, Teresa describes all the people whom she encountered and learned from as a gardening volunteer with Tandana, including its founder Anna Taft, and how she now feels forever a part of this extended network and Tandana itself. Continue reading “Tandana is unity”

Kindness and generosity in Ecuador

The following post was written by Chloe Willeford, a high school student who recently returned from a volunteer trip with the Tandana Foundation in Ecuador. 

One month ago, my group of eight other students, three leaders, and I touched down in Quito, Ecuador, to begin a three-week service trip helping Agualongo de Quichinche, a community outside of Otavalo. Little did I know that the trip would teach me and help me grow just as much, if not more, as it helped Agualongo.

Continue reading “Kindness and generosity in Ecuador”

Language barriers and Tandana

My name is Joseph White and I’m a student going into my fourth year at the University of Cincinnati. I’m majoring in Psychology and minoring in Africana Studies and Sociology. I’m the first in my family to attend college, so a lot of my time at the university has been spent building a network of people that are already doing the things that I want to do. My success begins on a small scale. A college education is not the standard in my family. Continue reading “Language barriers and Tandana”

Learning while working alongside nature’s caretaker

Matias on the left and Hope on the right.

Many of the Tandana Foundation volunteers, who have come to Ecuador on Gardening Volunteer Ventures since 2013 as well as other programs, have worked alongside Matias Perugachi and learned how to grow plants, raise crops and nurture trees in our joint efforts to make the area more productive and sustainable. We have planted trees on hillsides to break the wind and along community streets to add greenery and purify the air. We have planted gardens at the community’s health center and schools to improve nutrition, and we have worked in the fields to plant and tend crops to provide food. Continue reading “Learning while working alongside nature’s caretaker”

Motilón Chupa: a diverse community based on collaboration

Members of the Tandana Foundation, along with volunteers from the Ohio Master Gardener program and from several U.S. universities have recently traveled to Motilón Chupa, Ecuador, to collaborate with community members on several projects. These projects included installing a water tank to improve the community’s irrigation system and planting a garden near the school. The following is a story written by Motilón Chupa’s president about the history of the community, its diverse people, and how Tandana’s staff and volunteer support helps them achieve the residents’ long-term goals. Continue reading “Motilón Chupa: a diverse community based on collaboration”

Planting seeds, growing friendships

You won’t find Motilón Chupa on Google Maps. This indigenous Kichwa community high in the Andes in the far reaches of Imbabura Province of Ecuador is literally and figuratively at the end of the road. The community is a tight-knit group of people, living in isolated small houses on steep hillsides with no public buildings other than the elementary school. Continue reading “Planting seeds, growing friendships”

Becoming family in Ecuador

I quickly grew attached to my host family while living in Ecuador as a volunteer for the Tandana Foundation. My host sister, who is eight years old, was a very easy first connection to make. She loves to play games and is extremely bright, and within a few hours of my arrival we were already “muy amigas.” Continue reading “Becoming family in Ecuador”

Supporting innovative education at Saminay school

Saminay is a high school that is located approximately 15 miles from Otavalo, in the community of Inguincho. The surrounding mountains allow a beautiful and unique view, which provides the surrounding area with peace and tranquility in the midst of nature. Continue reading “Supporting innovative education at Saminay school”

Inauguration of the Multipurpose Building in Guachinguero

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the multipurpose building in Guachinguero

Compilado por Margarita Fuerez

La parroquia rural San José de Quichinche es la más grande del cantón Otavalo, tanto por el número de comunidades que tiene como por ser la Parroquia con más extensión de territorio por lo cual las comunidades se encuentran muy dispersas. Continue reading “Inauguration of the Multipurpose Building in Guachinguero”

A Doctor Learns From Her Patients on a Health Care Volunteer Vacation

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Kristin types notes in her patients’ medical records

By Kristin Linzmeyer

As a medical subspecialist here in the U.S., I was not convinced I would have anything to offer patients arriving at the clinics in the communities outside of Otavalo. I felt a little like an imposter at first, wanting to help but not really understanding what it is that they needed. I ended up learning more from my patients than they learned from me. Continue reading “A Doctor Learns From Her Patients on a Health Care Volunteer Vacation”

Things That Happen in the Night – An Anecdote From Ecuador

NateBy Nate Cordick

One night, I was walking to the bathroom from the main house when I heard a strange noise. It sounded like an animal was moving through a bush, but it sounded too big to be one of the family dogs. I walked around to the back of the bathroom and almost jumped when I saw what was staring back at me; a pig. Continue reading “Things That Happen in the Night – An Anecdote From Ecuador”

Moving Mountains– Literally

cancha REACH playingBy Shannon Cantor

I recommend that you travel to the highlands of Ecuador, to the small city of Otavalo. From the terminal—its own chaos of moving people, cars, and shouts—take an old, blue bus parked in the third row from the right-hand side, with a sign in the window marked “Quichinche.” Get off after about 25 minutes, when you reach the last stop. Walk half an hour, straight up hill, through cow fields and a eucalyptus forest. Only then will you find yourself in the community of Agualongo de Quichinche. Continue reading “Moving Mountains– Literally”

Parents and Volunteers Build a Wall to Protect Bilingual School

Tandana estudiantes voluntarios ayudando a terminar la pared

Por Rosa Saravino

Mi nombre es Rosa Saravino soy Directora de la Escuela Intercultural Bilingüe “Ati Pillahuasu,” que pertenece a la comunidad de Panecillo. Yo no soy de esta comunidad pero trabajo más de 30 años en este lugar y conozco a la mayoría de los padres de familia y ellos a mi. Esta escuelita empezó con dos profesores en el año de 1980 más o menos y con una cantidad de 15 estudiantes aproximadamente, estas clases para los primeros estudiantes de la comunidad funcionaba en una casa comunal muy antiguo, en un solo aula, con sus mesas y sillas improvisadas, conforme aumentaron mas estudiantes, la comunidad ha logrado conseguir una casa con dos aulas, después una casa más, así poco a poco la escuela se ha construido con ayudas por parte del gobierno, de otros fundaciones y organizaciones. Continue reading “Parents and Volunteers Build a Wall to Protect Bilingual School”

The Panecillo Community Center Secured with a Wall and Gate

La casa comunal

Por Lidia Alba

Soy Lidia Alba actual presidenta de la Comunidad de Panecillo. La Parroquia Rural “San Jose de Quichinche” es la mas grande del Cantón Otavalo, perteneciente a la Provincia de Imbabura, Ecuador. Esta ubicada a 15 minutos de la cuidad de Otavalo en el sector occidental, la cual esta conformada por 22 comunidades y estas se encuentran alejadas del centro de la parroquia. Continue reading “The Panecillo Community Center Secured with a Wall and Gate”

Experience in Ecuador Solidifies a Participant’s Desire to Volunteer

Don (right) with another volunteer in Ecuador

By Don Gustafson

My story actually begins in the spring of 2016 when my wife Mindy returned from her first trip to Ecuador as a volunteer for Tandana’s Health Care Volunteer Vacation. It was all she could talk about for weeks (months) to come. She was so excited about her experience that she immediately committed to continue her support of The Tandana Foundation with donations of supplies and future volunteer trips. Continue reading “Experience in Ecuador Solidifies a Participant’s Desire to Volunteer”

Warmth, Energy, and Good Will Stand Out

Christine with a new friend in Ecuador

by Christine Dennison.

As I reflect on my recent experience on a Health Care Volunteer vacation in Ecuador with The Tandana Foundation, my thoughts are settling around three themes. Continue reading “Warmth, Energy, and Good Will Stand Out”