Following the Fellows

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By Sarah Gagnon

When I left home back in July for my fellowship placement here in the coastal village of Estero de Platano, Ecuador, I really had no expectations of what my time would be like.

I think this is the best way to go into any fellowship, especially ours in Estero.

Estero is definitely one of the most open-ended and open-minded fellowship placements Union offers.

You talk, listen and examine what the community needs and then work with the community, not just for it, to achieve sustainable solutions and goals.

This open-endedness allows you to take on all kinds of roles.

So far, I have been involved in a wide range of projects.

They include teaching elementary school classes, tutoring and mentoring middle and high school students, constructing and opening a new town computer center and working with a women’s cooking cooperative (stay tuned for cookbook news in coming weeks!).

Along with Alagra Bass ‘12 and Aaron Glosser ‘12, I also provide new recreational activities in town for both kids and adults.

Just recently, Bass and I started offering Zumba classes as a fun way to get fit.

Working in Estero can be challenging at times, because of the slower pace of life here. I’ll admit that there have been many frustrating moments during my fellowship.

But once you can get people to come together to work on something, it’s completely worth it.

There is simply no way for me to adequately describe the Estero fellowship in this brief article.

This is something you must experience for yourself.

To get you started on a more in-depth look of what my fellowship has truly been like, be sure to check out my blog: http://saritaenecuador.tumblr.com.

I, and the other Minerva Fellows, will be back at Union in May. Feel free to come bombard me with questions!

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