Tursday March 14, 2013
volume 142 issue 18
Caroline Duda, Kevinlevangie, Alex Tomas,Rev. John Perkin, Melanie Wagner, Martin Omes,Allison o’Reilly, MarrylBlack, Patric Losier, CieraDeSilva, Alex Francheville,
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Mt. A’s Global Brigades travel to Honduras
Students strive toprovide better lives forothers
Most people dream o going somewhere warmand sunny during reading week, but developingcountries do not usually come up on their list.Students in Mount Allison’s Global Brigadeshad no such reservations. A group o overninety-our students travelled to Honduras overreading week to work with rural communitiesin Honduras. Te goal o the brigades is toimprove living conditions and community liein rural areas o the South American country.Leaving Tursday night, Global Brigadescaught connecting fights to egucigalpa,the capital o Honduras. From there they drove to their compounds in small, rural villages where they spent the rest o the week. Te students in the Mt. A chapter o Global Brigades are organized into vebrigades: medical/dental, public health, water, micro-nance, and architecture.Each attempts to address dierentproblems within the villages they visit.Mt. A Global Brigades is unded by aprogram ee paid upront by each student.Although the ee varies, it is usually in theneighbourhood o 2000 dollars which isprimarily or fights. Te remaining money accounts or travel and accommodations inHonduras, with a nal 100 dollars goingtowards a community investment und.Paras Satija, a ourth-year chemistry student and this year’s President o Global Brigades Mt. A, outlined the stepsthat the program takes in each village.First, the medical and dental groups go into villages and set up clinics to treat townspeople. Tey see around 250 to 300 people a day. Tebrigade program takes doctors to perorm theactual diagnoses and treatment, but studentsrun the entire clinic, organizing papers,taking basic readings such as blood pressureand glucose levels, and lling prescriptions.Many o the medical problems they see are gastrointestinal issues caused by parasites that villagers have picked up by drinking unclean water. o prevent urtherinection rom the water, the brigadeinstalls a clean water system with the helpo technicians. Students digs trenches, lay piping, and set up a clean water source. Te public health brigade builds waterstorage units and hygiene stations, called‘pillas’, in each house. Tis eliminates back problems that come rom bending over to washclothes in rivers, as they can now be washedon each pilla at eye level. Te brigade alsoinstalls cement foors and eco stoves, whichcan burn wood more eciently and preventcases o asthma by directing the exhaust smokeout o the building. “Most people don’t know the conditions these people are living in,”said Satija. “Tese people are coee armers who make most o their income during thetwo-week harvest. Tey live in houses withdirt foors and tin rooves, usually with twobedrooms and a kitchen. Tey usually houseve to teen people, and there’s no latrine.” Tese public health improvements alsorequire households to contribute around tenpercent o construction costs, which they canmeet by taking out a micro loan rom thetown bank. Tey also have to dig a three-meter latrine hole, which is good or ten years. Te micro-nance brigade works to makethese types o micro-loans possible. Tey set upor improve the community bank, which can oerthese loans to households and small businesses.Global Brigades also seeks to improveuture prospects or these communities. “Most villages have no education past grade eight,”Satija explained. “Architecture brigades work to build high schools, which are then staedby teachers provided by the government. It’sonly a matter o having a building,” he said. essa Morris, a second-year InternationalRelations student and a member o the micro-nance brigade, was excited about her secondtrip with Global Brigades, this year. “It’sbeen so amazing to watch the change in thecommunity o El Cantín rom year to year. Since we’d let, the community bank had undeda bakery, which is now a ully unctioningbusiness. Even better, it was done by thirteennew emale shareholders in the local bank.”During her time in the village, Morrisalso helped lead workshops at each o thetwo schools and talked with the bank aboututure projects, the biggest o which wasthe construction o an actual building tohouse the bank, which currently meets in thecommunity church. Te building will doubleas a community centre and house a library.“Brigades takes a holistic approach,”said Satija. “Ater we leave, eachcommunity has the tools and thetraining to continue to better their lives.”
Ninety-four Mount Allison students travelled to Honduras with Global Brigades for reading week.
Patrick Allaby, aylorLosier, Steph Pringle, AlexBates, Amber ucker, EricaCronkite, Melissa Meade,Cameron McIntyre, JennierSingh, Emily Hogan