Every since I was faced with the task of figuring out what I should do with my life, after having graduated with my Engineering Degree, I was highly motivated to seek out work/volunteering time with a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) At the time, I was finding it harder than I had originally thought, to find a suitable organization to work with; so, instead, I went to graduate school. After finishing school, once again, I found the urge to volunteer my time helping the poor. I was offered a job, in northern India, to manage several projects in one of its poorest regions; in the end I declined, because I didn’t feel ready to dive straight into an environment like that. Now, being once again faced with the same decisions in life, I began the search for work abroad again. My old roommate introduced me to La Isla Foundation, and after talking to the CEO, I came to the realization that this would be a perfect fit for me.
In Nicargua, the location of the Organization, many large banana and sugar cane plantations hire the under-educated, poor men of the surrounding villages. Their work conditions are atrocious, often having to work with poisonous chemicals and pesticides. After years of work in this environment, an epidemic has started spreading through this region, many of the men working in these plantations have what’s called chronic kidney disease which eventually kills them. These large plantations as well as the government are doing anything they can to cover up what’s really going on. Thus, the Organization’s goals are several-fold: to provide urgent medical care, study the cause of the disease, teach the poor inhabitants of the region sustainable agriculture to make them independent of these plantations, fight for human rights, and awareness.
My task, will be to cover the story, in a photo-journalistic manner. I’ll be getting to know the people, taking photos, talking with them, and writing about it. The organization is in need of PR material to help them get the news out about what’s going on, to educate the media about what the truth is behind these plantations, and to begin writing about it on the web. I begin work around the 10th of January and will be there through February; this should give me ample time to get an intimate view of what’s going on and to get close to the people. I’m deeply looking forward to my adventure and hope to be writing about it on this blog periodically, so make sure you check back!
(all photos copyright here)