University of Pittsburgh | GreensburgHeinz Programming Area:
Aniya chose to travel to Ecuador, a South American country, to study the Public Health of the Kichwa community as well as Kichwa traditional arts. Aniya chose this program not only because she wanted to be immersed in a Spanish speaking environment, but also to learn more about the health of the Kichwa people and their culture. She didn’t know much about Public Health at the beginning of her trip but by the end she learned strategies on how to create public policies. She had the pleasure of creating pottery with the indigenous elders, bonding with them and her peers alike. She learned the meaning behind each Tinaja and Mukawa, which are Kichwan serving bowls. Each work of art was inspired by the surrounding rainforest and its inhabitants. In learning Kichwa culture, Aniya learned that humans are interconnected with their environment. She was told many stories of babies crying like the animal their pregnant mother ate, trees whispering and making people ill, and birds calling in the wind communicating to anyone willing to listen. She participated in many field trips to different health care facilities where she compared each institution and their inclusion of indigenous communities. Aniya also conducted a few interviews of indigenous residents to ask for personal accounts of treatment in each facility. She learned that in spite of Ecuador’s constitution, indigenous people were receiving slightly unfair treatment. Aniya had lots of free time on the weekends so her and her classmates traveled to many other parts of Ecuador. During her stay she visited the mountains where she went horseback riding and sightseeing. She often caught the local bus to the nearest town called Tena to shop and get groceries. Only once did she get so worn out from the week that she stayed at the field school she was living at, and even then she had a blast! Days at the field school always included fun dinner times, movie nights, and canoe rides. Aniya spent 4 weeks in total in the rainforest at Iyarina field school and had great Spanish strengthening conversations.
CEE Title: S.O.S. Sustain Our Societies
The name of my CEE was Sustaining Our Society’s ; the goal of the CEE was to bring awareness to sustainability of people and the environment. My fellow Viras and I decided that we didn’t want to take on the typical sustainability perspective. We agreed that sustaining groups of people tied into protecting the environment as well. During my study abroad experience, I engaged with indigenous people. From this interaction, I began to make the connection between the environment and the people who inhabit Ecuador’s rainforest. I noticed the effects that environmental degradation has on groups of people. For example, oil drilling is stripping the land of its nutrients leaving the land depleted. Without fertile soil, there is no lumu, or yuca, for the Quechua group to feed their children. This potato-like vegetable is an Ecuadorian staple crop that feeds many families nationwide. Many families will starve if there is no fertile land because that is the main source of indigenous families nourishment and income. Another point I made in my presentation was when I spoke about how the beach was cracked in half by the end of my stay. The rocks that we took to get down to the beach were starting to erode. As the most convenient way down to the river for Ecuadorian men to fish, this devastating effect on their surroundings can serve as a hindrance to them. The landslides are due to mining and other unsustainable practices. This is yet another example of how outside influences are affecting their livelihoods. Lastly, I would like to discuss the physical layout of our CEE. It was set up like a simulation where you had to choose your path based on your interests. Depending on your choices, you end up at whoever’s poster and would gain information on the topic you’re most interested in. This was to give people insight on how their everyday choices lead them to a certain outcome. My goal in incorporating this in my CEE was to remind people that everyday we have a choice. This choice can lead to the ultimate destruction of our world today or its restoration.