I came, I saw, and we planted a lot of plants. I am an Antioch College student who was able to take part in the return of The Tandana Foundation’s first in-person volunteer internship since 2020. I arrived on a sunny day to meet Tandana team members Gaetan, Margarita, and Vero, and my host family. They were more than excited to welcome me to Ecuador. In that first week, I learned a lot about the places I would be staying and working in.Continue reading “My unforgettable experience as a Tandana volunteer intern”
I recently returned from my first visit to Ecuador. I had the opportunity to be a member of The Tandana Foundation Gardening Volunteer Venture. I am thankful I made the trip. The week provided many memorable moments, none of which exceeded the “special visit” arranged by Founding Director Anna for me to visit the community of Gualapuro.Continue reading “The thrill of visiting the Gualapuro water project in person”
The Tandana Foundation’s Gardening Volunteer Venture team hit the ground running on its first day of engagement with communities around Otavalo, Ecuador. After a thorough orientation (and marvelous Ecuadorian lunch), we began activities with a brisk hike up to the highland village of Panecillo, where we met with the president of the local water board and the project operations technician who have recently completed a crucial phase of a new sanitary system that brings fresh water down from the mountains and into the homes of families in five communities.Continue reading “Water is life: Community water projects at Panecillo and San Juan de Inguincho”
After being held virtually for two years, The Tandana Foundation’s Summer School program in Ecuador returned to in-person instruction this year. Among those happiest to be back in-person was Hank Fincken, who has taught a theatre course to students during seven iterations of Tandana’s Summer School.Continue reading “A standing ovation: Tandana’s Summer School returns in-person to great success this year”
The Tandana Foundation is shifting to a new format for its health and well-being-focused volunteer and intercultural learning program in Ecuador. The new program, called Public Health Volunteer Venture, will allow participants to support public health initiatives in rural Ecuadorian communities, such as leading health education activities and helping with clean water projects that prevent disease, along with immersing themselves in the local culture.Continue reading “Tandana introduces new Public Health Volunteer Venture in Ecuador this fall”
Rockey Anderson knew he wanted to make a positive difference when he retired; however, building water systems in rural Ecuador had never crossed his mind.Continue reading “The expat volunteer helping Tandana bring clean water to rural Ecuadorian communities”
In recognition of The Tandana Foundation’s 15th anniversary, we are creating 15 videos featuring cherished members of the organization’s global family. Published in a series of 15 posts on this blog, these videos will highlight key aspects of Tandana’s philosophy, community partnerships, and impactful work that has been done, along with projects still in progress. The videos will serve as a meaningful way to reflect back on what has been accomplished in 15 years as well as provide insight into the Tandana’s future in the next 15 years.Continue reading “Celebrating 15 Years of Intercultural Friendship: Friendship is a Journey Together”
The remote English as a Second Language (ESL) internship offered by The Tandana Foundation is a way to connect university students in the organization’s scholarship program in Ecuador with interns who want to teach English. Interns and students are paired based on their availability and meet once or twice a week for about an hour. Together, they work together to decide what material they would like to learn and practice and the class is tailored to their shared interests and needs.Continue reading “Two perspectives: The student and teacher experience of Tandana’s ESL program”
After participating in a virtual exchange program organized by The Tandana Foundation, students from Sharon High School in Massachusetts in the United States were motivated to launch a months-long fundraising effort for and with their new friends at the Jaime Roldos Aguilera Intercultural Bilingual school in Urkusiki, Ecuador.Continue reading “American and Ecuadorian students work together to raise money for music and art supplies for a school in Ecuador”
Everyone has their own reasons for volunteering their time to help others and organizations or causes they care about. For me, I volunteer for The Tandana Foundation because supporting the organization fills me with incredible amounts of pride and happiness on a daily basis.Continue reading “Why volunteering for Tandana is one of the most rewarding things I do”
The Tandana Foundation is immensely grateful to the many individuals who support its efforts in a myriad of ways. The following post tells the story of Dr. Ash B. Varma, M.D., one of Tandana’s earliest supporters, who has given his time, ideas, and financial resources to assist the organization in achieving its goals in Ecuador and Mali. Education is a topic Ash is passionate about. His contributions include supporting the creation of a new scholarship program to help more students pursue educational opportunities and setting up an endowment to help fund an existing scholarship program.Continue reading “Ash Varma: A passionate Tandana supporter and patron of education”
As a public health professional, I have always been interested in health care systems in Latin America, specifically with a focus on health disparities.
I have volunteered most of my life, while working full-time. I enjoy volunteering and have done so for many years. I had stopped for a while to reflect on my next opportunity, what I wanted to do next. Recently I came across The Tandana Foundation website and read about what they do and their mission. When I talked with Maria Jose, (the Ecuador Program Manager) I thought this was perfect for me as I would get a first-hand view of health care in Otavalo, the available resources, and types of care that the community receives.Continue reading “Healthcare in Otavalo Canton, Ecuador”
On April 10, The Tandana Foundation will be hosting a virtual venture exploring Dogon dancing and drumming in the Bandiagara district of Mali. Carol Peddie, Kelly McCosh, and Marilyn and Jack Krueger had the chance to experience the warm embrace of Dogon culture firsthand during Tandana’s 2012 trip to visit the villages of Kansongo and Sal-Dimi in Mali. Here we share remembrances of that trip from both our volunteers and local residents Moussa Tembiné of Kansongo, Housseyni Pamateck of Sal-Dimi, and Ada Kanambaye of Sal-Dimi.Continue reading “Dogon dancing: an unforgettable experience”
In 2019, Emily Piwowarski participated in a volunteer trip to Ecuador organized by The Tandana Foundation with her high school classmates from Arendell Parrott Academy. Now a sophomore studying chemistry and marine science at North Carolina State University, she took time to reflect on her memorable experience with Tandana in Ecuador.Continue reading “Looking back on my unforgettable volunteer trip with Tandana – two years later”
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.Continue reading “A shared philosophy of mutual support and learning”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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.
Continue reading “Making colada morada with my family!”
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’”
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”
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!’”
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.
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.
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”
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”
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”
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.