November 15, 2011

Service in the Rain Forest

Four students are serving in the Selva Central, the central section of the rain forest that lies in the eastern foothills of the Andes.  Elevations here range from 2,000 to 3,000 feet, with rolling hills and luscious green vegetation.

Ashley is volunteering at a school for special needs children called San Manuelito in the small city of San Ramon.  She assists with a class of 5 and 6-year-old children, several of which are hearing impaired.  She also helps the physical therapist who works with physically-disabled children.

Jana works at a children’s center called INABIF in the same city.  This is a place where children from low-income families come either before or after school to work on their homework, eat one or two meals and play.  Most of their families are at work during the day and many cannot afford to feed them.

Kelly helps out at a clinic in San Ramon.  Patients come here from all over the region for medical attention.  She assists by mixing solutions for IVs, cleaning wounds and other tasks.  She has witnessed several surgeries and is benefiting from the chance to apply what she has learned in the nursing program at Goshen College.

Michael is volunteering in a native tree planting project at a family-owned coffee farm in the mountains high above the city.  He helps to collect seeds, plant them in small bags, stake out the locations for planting, and transplant the seedlings into the ground.  He has also had opportunities to accompany his host uncle and tour guide, Moises, on several tours of the area, accompanying groups of visitors on hikes to waterfalls and other places of interest.

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