Basement Medicine

Filed under Campus & Community

Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

JSC+students+on+February%27s+Badger+Alternative+Break+in+Nicaragua+lay+piping+to+bring+water+to+a+town+in+Ometepe.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

JSC students on February's Badger Alternative Break in Nicaragua lay piping to bring water to a town in Ometepe.

JSC students on February's Badger Alternative Break in Nicaragua lay piping to bring water to a town in Ometepe.

courtesy of Julie Guilino

JSC students on February's Badger Alternative Break in Nicaragua lay piping to bring water to a town in Ometepe.

courtesy of Julie Guilino

courtesy of Julie Guilino

JSC students on February's Badger Alternative Break in Nicaragua lay piping to bring water to a town in Ometepe.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Each year, the SERVE program creates three volunteer projects for JSC students during the winter break, taking them as far away as South America or just a few states away. Signing up while only knowing what type of project it is, such as animal advocacy or humanitarian, students are matched up by desired service as oppose to desired location.

Closest to home was an animal advocacy project in Chestertown, M.D., where Kaylie Hale, the other co-chair of SERVE, was involved with a group at Victory Farm. While it was warmer than Vermont, in the 40s, it was still chilly but Hale said the members kept it upbeat and positive.

The students were housed in the old farmhouse and a nearby cottage where towels, bedding, and meals were provided. She called the amenities “above your average Alternative Break sleeping arrangements.”

Between Sarah’s pets and the rescue dogs, there were 12 canines to befriend as the group repaired fences bordering the property, cleaned the kennels and stables, tagged and neutered baby lambs, and cleared fallen tree debris. Hale said the chores may sound mundane, but they were necessary in order to properly care for the animals.

Between walking, bathing, and playing with the dogs, the JSC students also fell in love with them.

“My favorite dog was named Alec, he was nine and one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met,” Hale wrote in an email. “He was very low-key and responsible, never too far away from anyone that way he always got pet or his ball thrown for him. Everyone in the group seemed to bond with one particular dog which was really cool to see because the dog and human had very similar traits.”

She said it was a little hard for the group to leave its new four-legged friends and the owner of Victory Farm, and some students are already planning another visit soon.

Another Badger Break Away trip went a little farther south to Virginia, where students prepared national park camp site called Prince William Forest to open for the season. Apparently February isn’t too early to get ready because sophomore Reily Lawrence said it was around 65 degrees when they went, with only one really cold day when it snowed. It felt like “paradise,” he said, coming from the zero degree weather of Vermont.

A lot of the work was spent repairing windows that may have had glass broken from an accident, the wood frame rotting, or the screens torn and snagged. Once they dressed up in waders and splashed into a local river to drag out what Lawrence described as a large “ten-foot steel gear-looking thing.”

General cleaning was also on the schedule, clearing away the winter’s cobwebs and picking up a little bit of trash. For the most part, he said, it was well-maintained. What really taxed them was creating log benches at the camp’s workshop and then dragging them down the trails to set up at scenic points.

“We made benches out of these 300 pound logs and carried them to remote areas of the park on trails because we couldn’t drive cars down there,” Lawrence said. “They had little feet, too, and we had to drill and hammer pieces of rebar through it.”

The group he was with was full of easy-going people, and he said he made friends with fellow students he said he probably would never have met if they hadn’t gone on the Break Away trip together.

Finally, flying past Florida and landing around 14 degrees north of the equator and into soaring temperatures of 90 degrees, a group of students on a humanitarian service project went to add piping on a cistern in Nicaragua. The cistern was a previous project that collects rainwater from the tip of an inactive volcano and the piping would deliver the water to a nearby village.

Senior Kailie Guilino, a SERVE co-chairperson, stressed they were not heroes saving a third world nation.

“There have been Basement Medicine stories in the past that are like, ‘Johnson students came in and saved the world!’ and I want to emphasize that we went to Ometepe and we worked with the community… on a project that was already established,” she said with a smile.

The community had already determined how much pipe was needed, mapped out the pipe’s path, and had shovels ready for the students. Digging a three-kilometer long shallow trench from the cistern and encircling the town, students and community members then placed large tubes that residents could tap into. Smaller pipes ending in a faucet with sustain up to five homes.

While there was no indoor plumbing, this was the first time residents would have water available at their fingertips; previously they would have to hike about a kilometer away to a polluted lake.

“There were a lot of tears shed. We met one lady named Maria,” Guilino said. “The first day we were working she was dancing outside of her house with a cane saying, ‘I’m almost 100!’ She was this cute little Nicaraguan woman and she kept saying, ‘Thank you so much,’ and going on about how God sent us…They told us it brings them hope.”

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.

Navigate Left
  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    A Cuban journey of discovery

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    It was a good night for United Way

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    “Downstream”: a bleak picture about Vermont parental incarceration

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    NVU-J comes together against anonymous hate speech

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    Dewey’s doin’ the dance

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    Acclaimed artist and activist to deliver commencement address

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    NVU-J hires new sophomore advisor

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    Anonymous sticky notes appear across campus; students continue the positivity

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    How to get rid of your roommate: the ultimate guide

  • Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua

    Campus & Community

    Lamoille County Libertarian party holds annual convention

Navigate Right
The student-run community news site of Northern Vermont University- Johnson
Badger Breaks students give aid from Maryland to Nicaragua