December 23, 2009

Our First Brigade as Pixels & Words

Our Picasa web albums link:

A post-brigade report will be compiled and videos will follow in the coming weeks... stay tuned! For now, do enjoy the following blurb and a surplus of photographs of the countless memorable moments in beautiful Kuna Yala.
Global Environmental Brigades at UC San Diego visited Panama for their very first brigade to assist the indigenous Kuna people install photovoltaic panels onto one of their main buildings where they hold congressional meetings. This project allows the Kunas to not rely on unsustainable power sources such as batteries or diesel-powered generators for their electricical needs, while at the same time significantly reducing the amount of toxic pollutants - such as lead, cadmium, carbon monoxide, etc. - released into their surroundings which pollute their food and water supplies. Our group also spent time introducing effects of climate change, water & nutrient cycle, and waste reduction to both the kids and adults.

Even though the Kunas are traditionally known to be conservationalists who genuinely value the richness of their land, it is our goal and hope that the current as well as future generations will gain a fresh perspective of their natural environment and the imenient weather shifts through the educational activities that were implemented. And because we were not there as tourists but as brigaders who came onto their land with the priority of making culturally sensitive and sustainable positive change, the Kunas embraced us warmly with their open minds, hugely rich culture & traditions, and even a journey to a sacred area deep in the rainforest.

If it was at all possible to summarize our privileged week of living alongside the Kunas in their spectacularly beautiful, essentially autonomous, region of the Kuna Yala - it was a time of immense cultural exchanges, spectacularly gorgeous sceneries, as well as hands-on learning experience in an environment that magically promotes awareness of natural systems and the anthropogenic responsibility in maintaining such delicate balance.
Enjoy the slideshow below with some of our favorite moments:

And a short slideshow of highlights from our trip... with a soundtrack! Made by Nikki.