It’s Global Handwashing Day!

Handwashing with soap has an important role to play in child survival and health. One of the most cost-effective interventions, simply handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent!

Reblog this if you’ve washed your hands today! 

Global Handwashing Day Peace Corps health global health Burkina Faso Panama Malawi child health disease prevention Africa handwashing hygenie soap

Today is the first-ever International Day of the Girl Child

The day was established by the the United Nations General Assembly to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world. It’s an occasion for reaching out and educating others about the status of girls and the positive results that can be obtained by investing in them and is a good platform for engaging girls directly and offering them an opportunity to interact with positive role models. 

How did you help empower young women during your Peace Corps service? 

(Source: dayofthegirl.org)

USAID International Day of the Girl Child gender youth Peace Corps girls young women empowerment education equal rights

The center is designed to benefit the growing number of children who roam the streets while their parents work, who live in extreme poverty, or who are abandoned. Our objective is to continue improving the lives of socially disadvantaged or at-risk youth by strengthening certain elements of our current center.

- Peace Corps Volunteer Sandra Rose Wildermuth, who is working with her community in Paraguay to renovate the local youth center, which serves as a soup kitchen and space for educational resources and counseling

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

Paraguay Peace Corps Volunteer youth poverty at-risk youth community development Peace Corps Partnership Program

sarahreichle:

Things I’ve Learned in Ecuador: #4 How to Make Empanadas

A little less than a month ago, I moved out of my host family’s house and moved in with Dani just until I finally move into an apartment of my own ya mismo. I was lucky enough to arrive in her site, Galera, on the week of their fiestas de la parroquia. The reggeaton was on full blast and everyone was out celebrating and drunk. Lots of cerveza going around!

Dani’s host mom, Esperanza, runs a little restaurant out of the house and since Dani and I are the brilliant, young PCV minds that we are, and because two heads are better than one, we came up with the idea that we should make and sell empanadas during the fiesta. First of all, it would give Esperanza a little extra income (PCVs are not allowed to make any money in country) and basically we just really wanted to eat some empanadas. Dani had already made some with her host fam a couple months earlier but it was going to be my first time making empanadas and I was super excited (and hungry).

We pitched the idea to Esperanza and she was all for it, she even suggested that we sell bolones too. We also promised to be her ayudantes and sell the empanadas and bolones after we all made them since gringa salesladies can never hurt in this country. So we made up a list of ingredients and supplies we needed and the next day Dani and I headed off to Tonchigüe to buy everything. We ended up spending $26 in total for the verdes, flour, butter, cheese, napkins, pork and salad supplies that we needed.

That night the cooking began! We started by making bolones con queso. To make bolones, you first peel the verdes (green plantains) which is quite a challenge… unless you’re Esperanza and can peel a verde magically in .4 seconds. Dani and I struggled a bit more with the peeling process and by the time Esperanza had peeled 10, we had just finished with our first. After the verdes were peeled, you boil them with some achiote, which, going to be honest, I have no idea what it is. When the verdes are softened up a bit you mash them with a machacador (try saying that five times fast!). You can also mash them with your hands if you can handle the heat and boiling water that Esperanza added to it. You then mix a heaping tablespoon (or two) of butter into the mashed verdes so it’s more like a doughy texture. With this verde dough, you form the bolón then make a little indentation to add some queso to the middle. Once all the bolones are formed and stuffed with queso then you heat up your aciete and fry ‘em up! Top it off with some ensalada made from cabbage, carrot and onion drenched in lime and you’ve got a delicious little snack. We sold them for 25 cents each and within a few minutes they were all gone… a testament to Dani and I’s great sales skills.

Since the first day was so successful, the second day Esperanza, Dani and I upped our game and made bolones con chanco. This was más o menos the same process except after mashing the verdes and adding the butter, we simply mixed in the fried pork and served them up! According to Jeff, a fellow American (and very nice guy) who was living in Galera in September, they were delicious! Since Dani and I didn’t actually end up trying once since we sold them so fast (cha-ching!), I guess we all just have to take Jeff’s word for it.

By this time, Dani and I were starting to wonder when the hell we were going to start making the empanadas. Don’t get me wrong, bolones are good and all but they’re no match for empanadas. By the time we started making empanadas, word had gotten around what a successful little micro-empresa we had going on and Esperanza’s daughter Monica helped us to make empanadas and her son Kevin helped us sell them. To cook empanadas, first you mix the flour with eggs and butter to make the dough. The best part is when you have to smack the dough as hard as you can off the counter to get out all the air bubbles, which Monica is an expert at! Once the dough was made, we separated it into little balls, rolled it out, added some cheese then folded them over so they were ready to fry. Frying empanadas is also an art form. First you have to heat up the oil and make sure you have bastante in the pan then push the hot oil onto the side of the empanada that is face-up to make sure both sides are cooked well.

When the empanadas were done, Dani and I first ate some ourselves and then went out selling with Kevin and Jeff. Literally within five minutes we had sold about 20 empanadas. Not too shabby! People even came knocking on the door later that night asking to buy some. The next day Dani and I went for a walk on the beach with a teacher and some students from the colegio. When we arrived back at the house, we saw Esperanza, Monica and two more women cooking up more empanadas. Our little business idea had really taken off! The women had even made morocho, a corn-based drink with cinnamon, milk and a lot of sugar… it kind of reminds me of rice pudding except with corn. Once again, Dani, Kevin, Jeff and I went out selling and about 15 minutes later were all sold out.

By then the week-long fiestas were finally coming to an end so we took a break from our slaving over the stove and counted up the earnings. Overall, Esperanza made over $35 out of our little business, which we like to call Empanadas de Esperanza (or Empanadas of Hope). Not too shabby for a few hours of work here in Ecuador!

But sit tight, America! No worries, Empanadas de Esperanza is now considering how to sell and export to the States. Ya mismo, ya mismo

reblog Peace Corps Volunteer host community culture food Ecuador empanadas cooking

Join us for our first ever Google Hangout! 
You can ask questions ahead of time on Twitter by using the hashtag #ImpactWorld or by addressing questions to @PeaceCorps, @TheCorpsNetwork or @the_SCATo watch the live broadcast please stay tuned on the 4th to our social media sites or send an email with your name, town, and state to nationalservice@peacecorps.gov andwe will send you a link prior to the start of the event. 

Join us for our first ever Google Hangout! 

You can ask questions ahead of time on Twitter by using the hashtag #ImpactWorld or by addressing questions to @PeaceCorps, @TheCorpsNetwork or @the_SCA

To watch the live broadcast please stay tuned on the 4th to our social media sites or send an email with your name, town, and state to nationalservice@peacecorps.gov and
we will send you a link prior to the start of the event. 

Google Google Hangout Peace Corps The Corps Network The Student Conservation Association conservation environment national service Impact World

Peace Corps Volunteer Julie Nelson shared this photo and story about making a difference in the life of one young woman in Azerbaijan:"One of my students, Shole, has personally struggled a lot in the time I’ve known her. Her parents are divorced, her mother is absent, her father lives with his new wife, and she is being raised by her grandparents. Shole is very self-conscious about this situatio
n, and although she is a gifted student, it is very difficult getting her to commit to conversation clubs or other activities because of lack of motivation. However, this spring, she seemed more upbeat than usual, and she participated in ‘Write On’ contest for the first time. Shole won first place in the 8th grade category! Even though she seemed happy at the time, I could tell that she didn’t realize the significance of this accomplishment.A few months later, Shole participated in GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp. I hadn’t seen her since the camp until she attended the Write On Awards Ceremony with me. It was a wonderful experience because she was absolutely glowing the entire time. She told me numerous times that she was happy and that she was thankful. Before leaving the ceremony, Shole said thank you again and that she loved me.My counterpart has since talked to her grandmother who said that Shole is very different now than she was a few months ago. Now she is driven and even wants to study and apply for the FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) program!”Learn more about FLEX here http://exchanges.state.gov/youth/programs/flex.html

Peace Corps Volunteer Julie Nelson shared this photo and story about making a difference in the life of one young woman in Azerbaijan:

"One of my students, Shole, has personally struggled a lot in the time I’ve known her. Her parents are divorced, her mother is absent, her father lives with his new wife, and she is being raised by her grandparents. Shole is very self-conscious about this situatio

n, and although she is a gifted student, it is very difficult getting her to commit to conversation clubs or other activities because of lack of motivation. 

However, this spring, she seemed more upbeat than usual, and she participated in ‘Write On’ contest for the first time. Shole won first place in the 8th grade category! Even though she seemed happy at the time, I could tell that she didn’t realize the significance of this accomplishment.

A few months later, Shole participated in GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp. I hadn’t seen her since the camp until she attended the Write On Awards Ceremony with me. It was a wonderful experience because she was absolutely glowing the entire time. She told me numerous times that she was happy and that she was thankful. Before leaving the ceremony, Shole said thank you again and that she loved me.

My counterpart has since talked to her grandmother who said that Shole is very different now than she was a few months ago. Now she is driven and even wants to study and apply for the FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) program!”

Learn more about FLEX here http://exchanges.state.gov/youth/programs/flex.html

Peace Corps Volunteer Azerbaijan FLEX State Department gender youth education Camp GLOW leadership writing