Some background info

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The goal of this post is to provide a bit more of a background about myself, the Beyond Borders program, the work I will be doing this summer in Peru and everything in between.

About Me
My name is David Hewson and I am in my fourth and final year of Environmental Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I heard about Beyond Borders from a few different friends of mine, who all said good things, so when I realized that I had the opportunity to do the program I applied and luckily got in. While my engineering education at Waterloo and my co-op terms have been a great learning experience, and I have definitely learned a lot, I'm looking forward to the chance to do something completely different. This program includes many different opportunities to do things that I haven't done before - the most obvious being the chance to live and work in a developing country for three months. But the other aspects of the program - considering the concepts of development, progress and civilization through readings, raising funds for our trip, and volunteering in my community - will also be entirely new experiences as well. I am hoping that this program will give me the chance to see and consider many important issues that we as a society must address in the coming years, and make me a better global citizen at a time when the world seems to be changing more and more quickly.

Beyond Borders
The Beyond Borders program at St. Jerome's University is a one-year, service-based, experiential learning program. Students in Beyond Borders take two courses during the Fall and Winter school terms before doing a three-month international work placement, usually in a developing country. Current and past students have done development work in countries such as Botswana, Uganda, Kenya, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, India, Peru, Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador and other countries. In preparation for their work placement, students read and analyze readings related to the ideas and issues of development, volunteer in the local community, and raise funds to cover the cost of their trip. Through this combination of in-class, out-of-class and international work, students will hopefully become more aware of important issues that affect people around the world as well as in their own communities. For more information on Beyond Borders, click here.

Academic Readings
Becoming Human by Jean Vanier
Pathologies of Power by Paul Farmer
I, Rigoberta Menchu by Rigoberta Menchu and Elizabeth Burgos
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin

Beyond Borders students must complete 20 hours of volunteering with a local non-governmental organization (NGO). I have not yet arranged where I will do my fundraising, so stay posted for more details.

In addition to a personal contribution to their program, Beyond Borders students must raise $2000 to cover the cost of their flight and other expenses. Here is my current funraising total:
January 16 - $289.55

Group Initiatives
Last term our group conducted several joint fundraisers, including a bake sale and a band night at the Huether Hotel in Uptown Waterloo. Due to the enthusiasm generated by last term's band night event, we are in the early stages of planning another event that will likely take place in late February. Please stay posted for more details.

Individual Initiatives
For my own personal fundraising, I have decided to make and sell frozen soups and stews. My fundraiser will be called Soup and Stew for Peru. Please stay posted for more details about this.

For those of you who wish to donate to my fundraising campaign, there are several ways that you can do this:
- by cash donation
- by cheque, made out to "St. Jerome's University" and clearly indicated as for David Hewson's Beyond Borders fundraising
- by credit card, over the phone. Call 1-519-884-8111, ext 28254 and ask for Rhonda. Make sure to mention that it is for David Hewson who is in Beyond Borders.

All donations above $10 will be eligible for a tax receipt.

Where I am going

My placement will be in Chincha Alta, Peru, a city in a dry area of Peru located south of the capital city, Lima. I will be working in a poor area which was hard hit by an earthquake in 2007. As a port city in the Andean cocaine-producing region, it has also been greatly affected by drug trafficking in the area. For more information on Chincha Alta, click on the Wikipedia link here.

The brunt of my work will take place in a quarry run by a Catholic priest from Cape Breton Island named Blaise MacQuarrie. An oblate priest, Brother Blaise established the quarry in Chincha Alta several decades ago, making adobe bricks that local residents can use to build their own homes - so I will be doing a LOT of manual labor. The need for bricks and homebuilding has increased since the 2007 earthquake, which was described by Br. Blaise in this link (scroll down to the section entitled "Peru". For additional information about the quarry, click here. In addition to the quarry, I will also have the opportunity to do other development work - such as working with youth and other community-related activities.

1 comment:

Cell said...

Uncle Ben here David - Gotta Cheque here for you - made out to St Jerome's University ( smart - this way it stays as cash and not beer :)) - but I am not sure of where to mail it to - St. Jerome's or you - either way I need an addy?

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