Santa Fe, NM
Dates: March 23-30
Group Size: 2 student leaders, 8 participants
- Participate in Native life-ways and traditions
- Work with local community members
- Explore environmental and sustainability issues
Via International is a service organization based in California. Dedicated to building "paths to self-reliance for an interdependent world," Via International has more than 35 years of experience addressing community needs by supporting community members to become agents of positive change. Emerging from the communities, programs are designed to improve quality of life through nutrition and ecology training, community leadership education, and microcredit and microenterprise support. There are voluntours programs in Mexico, Guatemala, New Mexico and San Diego. They offer educational travel and service learning opportunities to engage with community development initiatives. The Via Institute provides a framework to nourish personal development, foster community engagement, strengthen organizations, and promote global dialogue
Health & Nutrition— Via International aims to contribute to food security which requires a system that ensures access to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. For a community to be food secure, food must be available in sufficient quantity, easily and affordably accessible by purchase or barter, properly handled, stored, and prepared. In order to support food security, communities must also have adequate knowledge of nutrition, clean water, and sufficient sanitation services
Ecology & Sustainable Agriculture—This calls for an integrated system that incorporates environmental health, economic viability, and social equity. This system includes the natural world, the local ecosystem, the farmer, the transporter, the processor and the consumer. It entails the stewardship of both natural and human resources with the focus of “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”. Urban populations benefit from expanded awareness about their physical environment. Urban communities can reduce their impact on the earth with efficient housing, mass-transit, and shared energy systems. The fastest growing urban areas, however, are unfortunately the sprawling slums of nations whose agricultural regions can no longer support growing populations.
Community Development— Building human capacity is a critical element of community development. Our promotoras offer classes in nutrition and ecology that teach participants how to prepare inexpensive, healthy meals as well as how to grow their own organic vegetables. These classes serve as the cornerstone for our engagement with community members. Through discussions of family health and food security, participants begin to establish alliances and bonds of trust that allow for the discussion of other issues confronting the community
The group will have the opportunity to engage with various aspects of the Southwest in a variety of ways- from the New Mexico State community garden to the community of the San Miguel Mission. There will also be the opportunity to engage with the Navajo Nation as well as a trip to Taos and other local pueblos. Experiencing and discovering more of Native culture will be a large aspect of the trip!
A Sample Week:
Monday- Wake up bright & early in Santa Fe, MN. After sharing breakfast, get acquainted with Via International and hear a little bit about the work they do. Spend most of the day exploring the city and bonding with your site contact.
Tuesday- After eating breakfast, walk the “Mother Ditch,” learn about the Acequia water system. Visit the oldest church in use in North America, San Miguel Mission. After lunch hear an introduction to multicultural history and culture of Santa Fe. Have a late night reflection outdoors post-dinner.
Wednesday - Work at local Community Center and lunch with communityHelp with the community garden, participate in workshops, and clean up your site just in time for a later dinner and moonlight stroll.
Thursday – Wake up early with the group and watch the sunrise. It’s the perfect start to your day focused on organic and traditional farming and permaculture. After an introduction and lunch work on the NMSU farm in Alcalde and/or Tesuque Pueblo. Tonight feels like the perfect night for a few night games or sharing scary stories!
Friday- After breakfast hear an introduction to Taos Pueblo! Travel to Arroyo Seco community garden project and share lunch with community. After dinner pack up the van and have your final reflection at the site. Get plenty of rest for your 6am departure back to MN!
Food, Lodging, and Travel:
The group will drive a 12-passenger van to Santa Fe and live and eat meals with the Via International full time volunteer community.
The trip fee of $950 includes van rental, site transportation, lodging, work materials for the site, meals, and programmed group activities. Additional expenses not included in the program fee, include: spending money for souvenirs as determined by the group agreement and food en route to site (~$30).
“Via International allows students to not only work along side members of the host community but delve deeper into communal growth and effort towards nurturing healthy lifestyles, together. We are honored and excited to be a part of the Via International community in Santa Fe.”
-Jess Novak (student director 2012)
For more information go to: http://www.viainternational.org