A Wabash Meeting in Lima, Peru
I returned home from Peru about two weeks ago. My family and I are readjusting to life in the U.S. and the pace of life now that we're back in the middle of the various obligations from which we had temporarily escaped. I'm beginning to distill the experiences in Peru to forms which might be more easily digested by folks here on campus as well as others (more on that in a future post), but I wanted to share one of the enjoyable times we had with a Wabash alumnus during our last week in Lima.
We were fortunate enough to be able to connect with Joe Moore '06 and his fiancee, Juleen Rodakowski. Joe was a Biology major while a student at Wabash, then went to Chicago to teach in an inner-city school for two years through the Teach for America program. Joe and Juleen left the USA in September '09 to volunteer and couch-surf their way through Central and South America. Their story is a great one -- it would be impossible for me to try to summarize the experiences they've had over that time, so check out their blog if you want more: http://juleenjoeaventuras.blogspot.com/.
They were in Lima for a few weeks to volunteer at the Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru, a non-profit that serves individuals with a various developmental disabilities, in addition to helping their families. We were able to catch up with them for a day and to hear about some of their travels. It was a great time.
One really interesting and recent twist on this is that Joe has been willing to help out with what might evolve into a really interesting aspect of a global health project. Since Juleen returned to the States earlier this week and Joe has stayed on in Peru for a few more weeks, he volunteered to help out with some of the work that I investigated in Tarapoto, one of the rainforest cities in northern Peru that I had visited. He is currently working in Tarapoto with the NGO group at URKU and with Dra. Rosa Giove in attempt to gather some epidemiological data on parasitic infections that she has seen in her medical clinic He will visit the same indigenous community outside the town of Sisa that I had visited, and we hope that he'll be able to gather from them some information from having to do with their access to health care and their use of traditional medicines from the jungle.
It should prove to be a great experience for him and a great help from an alumnus on a budding project!