In June of 2012, I traveled to Rodeo, Bolivia with a team of Messiah students and faculty member for a ten day service learning trip. We partnered with Food for the Hungry (FH), a non-profit international organization focused on sustainable, holistic community development. We taught nutrition and sanitation education, and participated in other projects to work toward improving the health of the community. Rodeo, Bolivia, is a rural native community in the Cordillera Oriental Mountains and is about 9,200 feet above sea level. The inhabitants speak a native, Incan language known as Quechua but the children are also learning Spanish is school. It is one of the most impoverished areas of Bolivia.
Woman from the Rodeo community prepared various native dishes and entered the dishes in a food contest organized by FH staff. Participants were expected to follow proper sanitation while preparing the food and be able to explain the nutrients the various dishes could provide.
The children from the elementary school in the village of Rodeo displayed posters during a science fair about personal hygiene, water sanitation, and other health topics they had learned about.
Fellow team member and myself during evening visits to local community members in their homes.
To see more pictures of my experience in Bolivia please view the slideshow below.
Involvement in the international community provided insight into the complexity of poverty and food insecurity. During a ten-day international experience in N’Djamena, Chad, I had the opportunity to work in cooperation with two Chadian women in the kitchen as we prepared meals for a group of forty missionaries. I utilized my menu planning and food preparation skills and learned the challenges involved in finding safe sources of food. Preparing and cooking food with limited clean water and refrigeration in a developing country proved to be a challenging and lengthy, but rewarding process. As a result of these international experiences, I chose to focus my education and dietetics profession helping those with limited resources by bridging the gap to safe, nutritious food and the knowledge necessary to become self-sustaining.