Friday, May 7, 2010

University of Alabama: Meet Their Instructors and the Project

University of Alabama's students arrive on Monday, and they have a big service job in Talamanca ahead of them. And who better to lead them than our veteran Tico Land Instructor, Orlando Zamora, along with one of our newest instructors, Sean Marr?

Our Custom Course Manager, Shawn Pendergrass, will also accompany this group of eleven honors students and their chaperone, Wahnee Sherman. Shawn has been working hard to plan this service project ever since he went to Talamanca on a reconnaissance trip last January. He found three areas needing assistance: Waste Management, Youth and Community Development, and Environmental Awareness.

The group of 15 will head to the town of Amübri in Talamanca where villagers are establishing a youth group in the community and involving them in community service projects. Waste management improvements will include: building trash/recycling bins, giving presentations about proper waste disposal, picking up trash, and designing PSAs for the town to run on the local radio. Community Development will include: developing team-building and leadership-building among the youth and greater community, improve the recreational facilities, preparing English lessons, and planning a field day for the community. Finally, the Environmental Awareness work will include: reforesting areas, creating a nursery for endangered trees native to the area, and constructing signs with environmental messages.

There is a lot of work to do, and these skilled group of go-getters needs to know they are in good hands. Meet the men to lead them next week:

Orlando Zamora, Lead Instructor

Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica
About: Orlando is arguably the strongest instructor we have at Costa Rica Outward Bound (and possibly in the entire country). He not only built his house for his wife and five kids, but he carried their cast iron stove 15 km to his house on mountainous rainforest terrain. And last December on a different University of Alabama course, he carried the large cistern (water tank) 12 km to the small village during their water supply service project.
Read More: a Canopy Chronicle article about Orlando

Sean Marr, Instructor

Hometown: Doylestown, PA
About: One of Sean's most unique characteristics is his ability to do flips, due to the gymnastics training he had growing up. As an adult, Sean has been busy with a lot of worldly experiences including studying in Mexico and teaching ESL (to students from all over the world) back in Pennsylvania. But don't let all of this traveling fool you - he is very close to his family and hopes to move back there some day.
Read more: Sean's Leadership Series profile, the wrap-up of the last course he led, and a Canopy Chronicle article introducing him

It's important, too, to understand the background of this village in order to understand the importance of these projects. For one, the population of Amübri has increased exponentially (to approximately 2,000) in recent years and, with it, consumerism. The increased consumption of products is causing environmental problems because of the lack of waste disposal options. Secondly, since the community has grown, Peace Corps Volunteers recently formed the community youth group, Koswak. They will be transitioning out this month.

Basically, this is all perfect timing for University of Alabama to come in and make a difference.

On June 2, 2010, Costa Rica Outward Bound released an article to the media about all of the work they accomplished. We published it in our newsletter, The Canopy Chronicle for our followers to read.

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