Browsing Category

Social Work

Bolivia, Destinations, Social Work

Social Service Excellence: The Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre

February 19, 2012

During our Workaway in Bolivia, Ted and I paid a visiting to a fabulous local social services project in the neighboring town: The Valley of the Moon Children’s Centre.

“The Nursery” as Emma (our host and one of the incredibly humble founders of the project), fondly calls it, exceeded every single one of our expectations. We might have simply hoped to find a roof over the children’s heads, a snack on the table, and a bit of outside space in which to play…

What we found instead was a beautiful and fully modernized operation run not by external NGOs but by the community itself with outstanding management, terrific resources for parents, high quality care and teaching for the children, and exceptional integration of creative, holistic learning in the daily operations. Continue Reading…

Musings, Peru, Social Work, South America

Lima, Too

January 20, 2012

A split down the middle of circumstance divides society in Lima, and we were offered the opportunity to run headlong into the challenge of wrapping our minds around the schism between rich and poor.

For perspective, a Peruvian woman working diligently in the city as a maid in a high class household might make 30 Peruvian Soles per day, or S/600 per month. In US dollars, our current exchange rate puts that at $11.10/day, or $222/month.

A trip to the grocery store for Ted and me to buy olives, cheese, plums, a bottle of (cheap) red wine, and a few fresh baked rolls came to S/53.80, or $19.90. Nearly double a maid’s daily wages.

Our Servas hostess, Anna, arranged for us a visit with her housekeeper Dadi, to see her under-construction home and gain a clearer picture of life outside the capital’s popular districts. During our travels, it’s important to us to see beyond the tourist cityscapes.

Continue Reading…

Musings, Portland, Social Work

What To Do With Open Eyes?

December 26, 2011

This post is part of the 2011 #TBGB Travel Bloggers Give Back project.

In an earlier post, Moving a Mile to Live Abroad, I shared about our recent 18-month experience starting a transitional housing community for formerly homeless families in Portland, Oregon and how the season of unconventional travel opened my eyes anew to invisible cultures.

In letting you in on my thoughts, I’ve honestly shared that I’m still learning what these lessons mean and wondering how to carry the responsibility of awareness.

My conclusions thus far: We do well to be actively acknowledging the existence of the troubles, connecting with people, partnering with programs, and resisting cheap guilt-assuaging fixes that only feed the problems.

Continue Reading…

Musings, Portland, Social Work, Tidbits About Us

Moving a Mile to Live Abroad

December 26, 2011

Our story of cross-cultural travel and seeing the world with new eyes.

This wasn’t the trip I expected.

I’d been talking for years about traveling the world, chirping in Ted’s ear about experiences in foreign cultures, fresh perspectives, and challenging the middle-class-American-outlook we unwittingly take for granted. (And of course I tried enticing him with prospects of exploring foreign markets’ colorful stalls and opportunities to sample Portland Food Cart fare in situ.)

Winter 2009: One of those What-If? pillow talk conversations. Normally, travel was my suggestion, but this time, it was Ted advocating for scenery change and promising new experiences. He painted a vivid picture of connecting with people willing to share their unique histories and and share their cultures and perspectives, and I agreed to the adventure.

Within five months of that exchange, we woke up in a new land. Continue Reading…