Hola a Todos!

Thank you so much for your support and interest in our trip to Ecuador this summer through UNC-Chapel Hill’s chapter of Nourish International. Our team members Kristin Bevilacqua, AJ Karon, Juan Pablo Pacheco, Kelly Peuquet, Faima Ramírez Hirschauer, and Abbey Wells are all extremely excited about the work we will be doing with the JUVILUS foundation. As we alternate between working with the children of the orphanage and the guinea pigs (cuy) on the farm, we hope to learn a lot about the Ecuadorian culture and ways of living. We look forward to building strong relationships with the organization, children, and each other.

Since our team’s formation in late February, we have been working together to prepare for our upcoming trip. We have educated ourselves about HIV/AIDS (which all of the JUVILUS children have), developed group and individual goals to determine the success of our project, worked through potential conflicts we may experience as a team, and researched Ecuadorian culture. Most importantly, we have laid the foundation for a strong and beneficial relationship with JUVILUS. Through many emails (scripted by Faima in Spanish, of course) we have finalized trip logistics, talked about expectations for the project from both parties, and learned basic information about what our lives will look like for the six weeks we will in the orphanage. Luckily, we do not have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning with the children. Padre Alfonso, the fransician monk who helps run JUVILUS, seems very excited about our coming and the work we will be doing to expand the cuy venture. His warmth and reception of our ideas for the project have been extremely encouraging as we have planned for our trip.

We will keep you all posted as our summer develops and we learn more about the JUVLIUS organization. There will definitely be some amazing stories to tell—some challenging, some funny, some tragic, and some hopeful. But first, we must make the trek to Ecuador! Fingers crossed, we will all arrive safely from New York, Philadelphia, Greensboro, and Los Angles. We will be in touch!