AquaAid International was founded in 2012 and works with community partners to design and implement culturally appropriate, results-bearing, and cost-effective water and sanitation projects. Their mission is simple: clean water for everyone, no exceptions. AquaAid currently works in the Southern Autonomous Region of Nicaragua, specifically Karahola and the surrounding farms—it takes roughly a day and a half on horseback to reach the village.
Today’s post comes from our partner organization America’s Unofficial Ambassadors. Gabriela Guerrero is a third year student at San Francisco State University (SFSU) majoring in Studio Art with an emphasis in photography and minoring in Philosophy. Gabriela has finished her volunteering service at the Tajik State University of Commerce (TSUC) in Dushanbe. She writes about the …
Before India, I seriously doubted that I could do anything completely independently without help from my family. Now, I have found my independence, and I realize that the only person who knows what is best for you is you. Going against social norms and into the unknown is difficult, but this experience has given me more insight into myself and the world around me then a lifetime of work in the United States could have ever done.
Everyday Ambassador attracts those of us longing for something “different” and itching with wanderlust. Always looking for ways to relate cross-culturally and learn from far off places, we have to take care not to lose empathy for those who have chosen a different path. Those who stay home are embarking on their own adventure, and honestly, it’s one that scares me more than moving to a new country by myself.
“Imagine that you’ve been living on the streets, you haven’t showered in ages, you haven’t brushed your teeth, and unless you’re using a public restroom, you’re not able to wash your hands after using the restroom or before meals. You’re dirty, you’re afraid, and you’re alone. Then, imagine that a volunteer comes to your tent to feed you and pray with you, and despite your dirty hands and your squalid living conditions, that person is unafraid to hold your hands, embrace you, and be present with you in that moment.”
Before Senegal, some restive, fickle part of me thought I was done finding myself—that I could carry no more, and that my pack was already full. I was wrong, of course. Most of it, whatever it is I’m looking for, is still out there somewhere, waiting to be explored, built, gingerly examined, and taken with me wherever I go in a pack labeled: “Contents: bones, blood, and memories. Carry with care, and remember: contents unbreakable.”
“Traveling abroad, I have learned quickly that the cultural norms that I have become so acquainted with in my first-world upbringing do not always apply in other countries.” Today’s post comes from Sarah Wall with our partner organization America’s Unofficial Ambassadors. We chose this piece for Sarah’s optimistic view of development work and her humility in recognizing that change cannot only come from the contributions of people like her.