Cross-Cultural Learning

The community service and cross-cultural trainings in Chimbote we’ve participated in have been fulfilling in friendship. That’s one of the things we notice about this kind of trip – it’s relational, especially since WGC and the Incarnate Word sisters have had such a long presence here. 

Karissa Rangel, who just graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s in Communication Arts from UIW, received the Ettling-Hayes Immersion Trip Scholarship that enabled her to come on this trip. Karissa served for over a year as the Women’s Global Connection communications intern, so she knows so so much already about projects here in Peru – now she actually gets to meet people first hand! 


Karissa conducting a computer training with Pushaq Warmi women

WGC is fortunate that she’s using her talents and skills during this trip to do a video for its October gala and to produce some other media content pieces. She conducted one-on-one interviews with Peruvian women, including Teo, who works as a nurse technician at Chimbote’s big public hospital that serves mostly low-income families, and Ruth, who has gone back to school to get her degree in psychology. 

Karissa interviewing Teo


Nicole and Ruth

With the entire group of Pushaq Warmi women, Karissa held a workshop focused on women’s groups across the globe collaborating using new technologies. She also served as one of several “reporter” on our trip – blogging, reporting, etc. Her storytelling abilities are invaluable!

Monica “Moni” Hernandez, UIW Ph.D. Candidate in International Education and Entrepeneurship, has been examining many aspects of education here. She worked with students learning English in the group led by Incarnate Word Missionary Dianne Tribo. After several of their class sessions, Moni said she felt closer to these adult students and she was so motivated by their desire to learn. Moni says studying the quality and challenges of education in Peru is informing her own work as a teacher and student.  


Moni, Dianne, and the English class students 

Our whole group is very grateful to Cristina Sanchez, UTSA Undergraduate Student in Business and her sister Mariel Sanchez, UIW Undergraduate Student, Nutrition & Dietetics, for their excellent assistance in translating. Having been educated on both sides of the Mexico/Texas border they are fluent and this trip would not have been as successful without their skill and willingness!! 

Cristina also conducted workshops in accounting and Excel technologies with the women of Pushaq Warmi. The trainings will help the group strengthen its collective business strategies and record keeping. 


Sisters Cristina and Mariel

Our final day in Lima was full of further learning about the issues of justice and peace as they apply to Peru’s history and future. We were so fortunate to hear a presentation by Victor Mendoza, an attorney, the director of the Chimbote Diocese Justice and Peace Office – and also a member of the Incarnate Word Sisters Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Committee. He helped us integrate many of our experiences and ideas in a larger context. Mr. Mendoza has been a friend of the Incarnate Word Sisters for many decades, including working with Sister Grace O’Meara on justice issues. He knew the priests who were murdered by the terrorist and have now been beatified as the “Martyrs of Chimbote.”    

 

Mr. Mendoza is currently the Catholic representative on a national human rights committee formed by various religious and social groups concerned about indigenous peoples, the poor, women, homosexuals, and others who are often discriminated against. He gave us an overview of economic, political, and social challenges.  

Since Brian McBurnett in our group had a Fulbright Fellowship and had taught in Brazil at the Catholic University which was near a major “favela,” a huge area of poverty with extensive crime, he asked Mr. Mendoza questions which led into a discussion comparing challenges in various Latin American countries.  

The preparation and the experiences of this Women’s Global Connection trip were now leading all of us beyond charity to social analysis. Hopefully this last session was actually the beginning of a life of deeper commitment to justice and solidarity. 

 

Women of Pushaq Warmi after WGC workshops 

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