By Sebastian Carrillo: Summer Volunteer 2014
My experience during the past weeks can be described as a thrilling adventure that only comes only once or twice in a life time. Fundacion Runa is a place where I got the opportunity to discover many new realities that different native people throughout the Amazon encounter. On the other hand it’s also a place to meet new people from different parts of the world and have an amazing time together. Finally Runa overall is a place where you will find true peace and a place to escape from the overwhelming stress of the daily routine.
By Tina Wang: Public Health Intern, Summer 2014
I wrote a blog when my intern starts. Now, I am writing another one at the end of it. Time flies.
Our water survey is almost done. I am really happy for what we have accomplished so far. Working in the field is never the same as learning from the book. The book, the class is just teaching you basic theories about how to deal with basic questions. But the real world is never that simple. For instance, the language barrier between English and Spanish may prevent us from delivering our message/survey to our interviewees. And the survey is based on our knowledge of water quality so some indigenous members may not be fully understood so we may encounter some interview biases in our results. Although we have so many problems, we figured it out. We finished it. All of them cannot be accomplished without teamwork. I am so thankful.
But this is not it. My title of this blog is Runa. In Kichwa, Runa means fully living human being. My five-week-internship with Runa foundation, in my opinion, fully interprets the meaning of Runa.
By Tim Moser: Community Development Intern, Summer 2014
It was only my third night in Santo Domingo, and I was still getting used to things. I was laying in the bed in a room that clearly used to be inhabited by a teenage girl. The walls were still covered with magazine clippings and posters of fashion models, shirtless male hunks, even a prominently displayed image of the Virgin Mary (lest I forget that I am in Latin America). I found myself dozing off after a long day in the chakra (the Amazonian version of a farm), where I had helped my host mom cut down some weeds around her guayusa plots, pull some yucca from the ground, and cut some plantains and oritas (oritas are like tiny bananas, I think they have different name in other places) from their trees. The hike to and from the chakra is lengthy, and on the way back I was weighed down by a large basket chock full of produce. After returning from the chakra I took the time to jump into the river with the kids, a welcome respite from the heat, and after returning to the house to change out of my wet clothes I decided to lay down for a bit. So that's where I was when my host mom, Maria Violeta, came into the room to give me the news.
By Sarah Dugan: Public Health Intern, Summer 2014
As I approach the midway point of my internship, I find it difficult to believe how quickly the last few weeks have gone. We have concluded our initial survey of our first community, Santa Rita. We planned our first day to coincide with a community meeting so that the community president would be able to explain our project to his constituents. During the time allotted for us at the community meeting, we all briefly introduced ourselves (standing in front of over one hundred people and introducing myself in Kichwa was a bit of a surreal experience), and asked community members to draw two maps. One map was at the “micro” level, which includes the community of Santa Rita and its six neighborhoods. The other was at the “macro” level, which allows us to see the location of agriculture, livestock, logging, and other activities in relation to the main water source. We returned the next day to conduct surveys asking about water uses, habits, sanitation, and attitudes, as well as to take water samples from various sources. Overall, there was a lot of community participation and interest.
By Tina Wang: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
A lot of friends asked me, why I chose to come to Ecuador. To be honest, at first, I don’t know. I don’t have any clue of what Ecuador looks like on the map, what culture they have, or what I should expect. All I know is that the internship program really interests me and I’d like to continue my experience of doing public health practice in developing countries.
So with just a little bit knowledge of Spanish, and braveness, I came to Ecuador alone.
By Julia Kehoe: Forest Conservation & Watershed Management Intern Summer 2014
When I first applied and interviewed to intern with Runa back in November, I promised myself I would take the time to learn some Spanish before coming here in June. I took 3 years of French in high school, and three more semesters in college, but nevertheless, I still found myself too enthralled with Runa’s mission to care about the language barrier I would face. Despite my personal vow to start learning Spanish, I was, as happens, soon overcome with classes, work, and extracurriculars to commit to more than playing with the app “Duolingo” on my iPhone every now and then. Suffice it to say, I arrived in Ecuador, regrettably singing a resounding chorus of “No hablo español.”
By Eunhae Lee: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
From July 26-27, Anthony and I attended the 8th National Water Resources Forum (El Foro de los Recursos Hídricos) in Quito as representatives of Fundación Runa. As interns working on the new water/public health project, we have been working on developing and implementing needs assessment surveys in Kichwa communities around Archidona to see if there is a need and interest in establishing sustainable water purification systems in the communities and implementing sanitation workshops. By attending the forum, we were excited to learn more about the management of water systems in Ecuador and how we could apply to our project.
By Anthony Treas: Public Health Intern Summer 2014
We went into the town of Santa Rita early today to have the community members help us draw a map of their water sources and the different water access points.
Every month the community meets at the local outdoor basketball court to conduct a meeting to talk about local issues and to disseminate information.
We arrived in Santa Rita just before nine in the morning believing we would be arriving right on time. It turns out the meeting time was changed to 12 and the president of the community forgot to call us to tell us about the
By Sarah Carpenter: Summer Intern 2014
This week, I moved into my host family's home in San Pedro. I was very anxious and excited for the experience. When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by three puppies! Something I knew and was familiar with. I mean animals are the same everywhere, right? Shortly after, I walked up the short path to my new home. It was a small, one story home with a lot of foliage around. My mom was quiet but seemed excited that I had arrived. Lindsey and Raine confirmed some final details with my host mom and I, and then left. Then there I was standing at my new home for the next three weeks.
Zoe Lewis: Summer Intern 2014
Life in the volunteer house got comfortable very quickly! It's kind of like a cool floor in a dorm, with only nice people you like. The bunk beds make me feel like I'm at camp (I've never been, but I'm assuming nights are filled with too much chattering, giggling, and wiggling around trying to get comfortable). The tile floor gets dirty quickly with our muddy/sandy feet, the showers have one temperature: cold, and the demon flies eat up my ankles, but that all just seems like a part of home now.