Geneseo is bound for Central America
Students will ring in 2009 in Nicaragua, living with families in El Sauce and helping villagers to repair their homes, learn English and improve healthcare and overall quality of life in the remote community.
Managing Editor Kris Dreessen will join seniors Meredith Cannella and Adam Davis Jan. 2 through 18 to share their stories in ENCompass and the new Scene magazine in June.
Read about their adventures, view photos and videos on Dreessen’s live “On Scene” blog here, starting Jan. 5.
Cannella and Davis will teach adults English in Geneseo’s New York School of English. Knowing the language makes the villagers more marketable than 90 percent of the population of the region, says in-country director Kellan Morgan ‘06, who guides Geneseo’s projects in El Sauce.
Cannella will also visit remote health outposts with medical staff to treat patients and develop education programs. Davis will work alongside an expert bricklayer to build stable walls for a woman and her family who live in the poorer part of town. Her son will help.
College faculty and staff has worked in collaboration with Geneseo residents since 2005 to develop sustainable business and economic development in El Sauce, as well as sports and recreation activities, English and computer classes, personal finance courses, agriculture improvements and other assistance. About 25 students have participated in the service-learning program, including Morgan, who returned full time.
It’s a community effort. El Sauce leaders support programs, Morgan works in concert with other nonprofit groups in the area and students develop and implement their own projects.
Chad Salitan ‘09 will graduate with a resume that includes helping artisans in a mountain community identify markets for selling their pine-needle baskets. He is also launching a pen-pal program between schools.
Morgan and local leaders are now developing tourism in El Sauce. A native Nicaraguan who works with Morgan recently won a $10,000 grant to open a bungalow-style tourism accommodation outside town. Morgan is a key organizer.
In additon to telling the Geneseo story in Nicaragua, the College is contributing. An avid solo traveler who has visited and lived in South America, Dreessen will help tour guides that the Geneseo program has trained to identify attractions and improve their English before a regional tourism conference in El Sauce Jan. 17. She will also help Morgan design a marketing plan for the accommodations.
Stay tuned! ENCompass will feature a story and photos from the road Jan. 7 and 13.
December 23, 2008
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