Sustainability & Community Resilience: AWOL in Puerto Rico
A group of 12 community members from the University of South Dakota, 11 being students and 1 being a community partner, traveled to Las Marías, Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, we served at an organic educational farm for seven days. Our group helped with morning "Shramdaan," this word is used to replace chores as it means a voluntary contribution involving physical effort. These consisted of taking care of worms and the composite pile, cleaning the outdoor classroom, and watering the greenhouse. We began each morning with optional yoga, shramdaan, followed with an intentional meal. The projects we completed on the farm included: weeding and harvesting, construction of a superadobe house, and reconstructing a garden named "Nate's garden" honoring a student who passed away. We outsourced work to a middle school, "La Escuela Raul Ybarra Marica," a neighbouring farm named Fincha Bohiti, and served alongside a Hare Krishna youth group. Individuals completed over 30 hours of service. Each night included reflections that deepened our learning and lessons. These reflections cultivated deeper community and sometimes included Plenitud staff, which further practiced our focus of community resilience and sustainability. Among these we also had cultural immersions, including: day trip to the beach known as La Playa Sucia, a local restaurant meal, a waterfall and a swim break in a natural river. Near the end of our alternative break there were earthquakes, we got to see first hand the effect natural disasters have on the island. Returning to South Dakota was difficult for participants, however our goal was to bring back all we learned. We did this by having a meal that was inspired by the farm's traditions as well as changing our cooking habits, our outlook, and keeping in touch with our second family in Puerto Rico and the participants from the break
Vera Jacobs, Alexis and Schild, Lauren, "Sustainability & Community Resilience: AWOL in Puerto Rico" (2020). IdeaFest. 223.