Mwiriwe! After three days of travel, we have finally reached our destination. Before we begin sharing our GROW experience, we thought we would introduce our partner organization and ourselves.

GlobeMed at Lawrence University is partnered with Health Development Initiative (HDI), located in Kigali, Rwanda. Founded in 2005, HDI works to improve the health of disadvantaged communities in Rwanda, and to bridge the gap between communities and the health care system. Our partner organization strives to improve the health of Rwandans through advocacy, education and training.

This past year, HDI and our chapter have been working on a pig cooperative project and water system for the Community of Potters Health and Development (COPHAD). The Community of Potters are formerly known as the Batwa. They were originally hunter-gatherers in the forests of Rwanda; the creation of national parks and gorilla sanctuaries drove them out of the forests. Today, there are more than eight thousand families (about 35,000 individuals), most of which live in extreme poverty and with nearly no participation in Rwanda’s national health care system. The lack of participation in the health care system is believed to be due to their poverty and marginalized status in Rwanda. GlobeMed at Lawrence and HDI have been working with the Village of Cyaruzinge, a community of about 350-400 individuals.

For more information about HDI: http://www.hdirwanda.org

For more information about the Community of Potters: http://www.pygmysurvival.org/batwa.php?ref=PSA-NP-TOP

For more information about GlobeMed at Lawrence University: http://globemed.org/impact/lawrence/

 Meet the team: 

Krizhalyn Velasquez ’17

Year: Rising junior

Studying: Psychology & Spanish

Most looking forward to on GROW: I have always loved learning new languages, as well as learning about new cultures, these are some things I am looking forward to on our GROW trip. As a Spanish minor, my classes sometimes help me understand a little bit more about my own dialect, Pangasinan, and the origin of particular words. I find this very interesting because I did not formally learn Pangasinan when I attended elementary school in the Philippines. Seeing similarities and connections, for the first time, between certain words I learn in my Spanish classes and words I hear my parents say in Pangasinan is exciting. I am also looking forward finally meeting, getting to know, and directly work with the people from our partner organization and their community.

Hobbies: Guitar, ukulele and rolling receipts



Augie Groeschel-Johnson ’18

Studying: Anthropology & Spanish

Most looking forward to on GROW: I am most looking forward to experiencing a new place and learning from new people during my time interning for HDI Rwanda.

Hobbies: theater and film



MonicaMonica Paniagua ’17

Studying: Biology

Most looking forward to in GROW: I’m most looking forward to seeing and learning about all the work that our partner organization, HDI, does in their community.

Hobbies: A few of my hobbies include crocheting, knitting, friendship bracelets and running.

We will be sharing more blog posts soon, but till then, Murabeho!


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