In the Genesee Valley, our splendid isolation seems to disconnect us from the goings on outside of it. The Community Health Alliance sought to bridge the lacuna with its Global Village Week, which began with a Haitian cooking class on Monday April 14. In total, CHA planned four events, hoping to “increase conversation about global development across campus,” according to international project coordinator senior Tasmia Naz.
“[We] had been thinking about recreating Haiti week again but I really wanted to expand it beyond Haiti so students could participate and talk about their experiences. We have only a small group of kids who have been to Haiti before and there are so many other projects going on around campus that I wanted to showcase,” Naz said.
Junior Tamara Kurek led the cooking class, bringing to Geneseo two recipes that she had observed the cook prepare during her trip to Haiti and had gleaned from a Haitian cookbook. The dishes included legume, a tomato-based rice and bean dish and diri ak pwa, a “vegetable mash” consisting of eggplant, carrot and cabbage with a mix of herbs.
Naz also said that CHA is working on possibly introducing a Haitian dish to one of Geneseo’s eateries.
On Tuesday April 15, the organization screened the documentary One Dollar Poverty, which showcases the work of four activists living alongside earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on a dollar per day. The members founded the nongovernmental organization Poverty Resolutions, which works to raise awareness and combat global poverty.
Professor of biology Susan Bandoni Muench spoke about her research on neglected tropical diseases that occur in the developing world on Wednesday April 16. The presentation gave an overview of a field that she is familiar with; she leads research and teaches in Ghana on public health issues the country faces.
The week concluded with the student project exposition, which showcased students that have contributed to international development in some way, be it through a directed study or an experience abroad. Students and groups discussed topics such as healthcare access and field experiences through non-governmental organizations.
“I hope that students are inspired by some of the work that these upperclassmen have done and some of them are actually the ways in which they initiated their ideas,” Naz said. “I just hope that students who want to get involved see the capacity of the work they are capable of doing in their undergraduate careers.”
Naz spent her past two spring breaks in Borgne, Haiti doing research on cardiovascular disease. She hopes to receive funding to extend this research.