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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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”
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!”
The Tandana Foundation will be holding its 26th Health Care Volunteer Venture (HCVV) in rural highland Ecuador from October 5-12, 2019. Since 2007, when Tandana began partnering with the indigenous communities in the region to host mobile health clinics, volunteering medical professionals and their local counterparts have provided for 11,968 patient visits. This includes providing needed medical, dental, and vision care to at least 6,614 unique patients and conducting 5,709 pediatric checkups. Continue reading “The significance of Health Care Volunteer Ventures – by the numbers”
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.
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”
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”
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”