Friday, June 19, 2009

Write Me Letters!

Start sending me mail now!

Amigos de las Americas
c/o Elizabeth Muller
Correo - San Estanislao
C.P. 8210
South America

The mail will take 2-3 weeks to get there, and I would absolutely LOVE to receive mail in Paraguay to remind me of home!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Special Thanks to Local Dentists

I would like to extend a special thanks to two dental clinics, one in St. Paul and the other in Minneapolis, for donating an extremely generous amount of dental hygiene products (including toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss) for me to bring to Paraguay. Part of the AMIGOS volunteer program focuses on dental hygiene for 5 to 12 year-olds which I will be teaching in the local school. Because of these generous clinics I will be able to give each student a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss of their own.

Thank you, your support means a lot and is greatly appreciated!

Charles H. Mendes, DDS

550 Snelling Ave S
Saint Paul, MN 55116
(651) 699-0404


Penn Avenue Family Dental

5346 Penn Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55419
(612) 922-0894


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back Home and Getting Ready

I'm back home, I successfully survived finals! So preparations are fully underway for the Paraguay trip! My mom and I are heading up to the cabin on Monday so I plan on bringing lots of training materials to read and go over. On Thursday I got my Yellow fever vaccination and the first of three rabies shots. I'm also taking an oral vaccine for Typhoid fever.
I also picked up camera equipment from the Boston College Film Studies department before I left school because I'm going to be making a short documentary while in Paraguay.
So, all's well! And all my funding is coming in, so hopefully all the grants will be in soon. Yay!


Thursday, April 30, 2009


Got great news this week! The University Fellowships Committee has awarded me $2500 for the Advanced Study Grant to put towards the Paraguay trip, AMAZING! I was expecting $2000 at the most so this is wonderful news. Combined with the fundraising and the film studies grant ($1000) I have met my fundraising need! It feels wonderful, and I am so grateful.

The next big thing to tackle before I lock myself in the library for finals is going through the Boston College Institutional Review Board (IRB) process. If you do research (or in my case make a documentary) that is affiliated with Boston College you must go through an intense review process to ensure that your research is ethically sound and will not be endangering or exploiting its subjects. I hope to finish my application and send it in today or tomorrow. The review process can take up to a month and I will not be awarded my grant money until my project has been approved by the review board.

FINALS ARE LOOMING! I have two 12 page papers due, one Monday (for my Human Rights class) and one Tuesday (for my Honors class), and then two intense finals next Friday (in U.S. Foreign Policy and International Studies). I've got lots of work to do. This Saturday some friends and I are going white-water rafting to get our crazy energy out before we lock ourselves in the library, it should be amazing! And I'll be home in a weekand a half! I can't believe the year has gone by so fast...



Friday, April 24, 2009

Life is GOOD

I am having one of the best weeks I think I have ever had. First of all, I counted up the fundraising efforts again (not included some of the online donations - if you donated online PLEASE let me know) and the result is amazing. Through the kindness of family and friends I have raised $1881! WOW! That is incredible to me, especially as everyone is struggling with the economic downturn. The generocity is astounding, and I can't thank you enough.

Other amazing news, I am received an Advanced Study Grant from Boston College! I went through a very intense process to apply for the grant, and since I have received it will hopefully be granted approximately $2000 to apply towards my AMIGOS trip as well. With the ASG grant, in conjuction with the Jacques Salmanowitz grant I received from the Boston College Film Studies department (for $1000). I will use the grant money to help finance this trip (along with donations), and while in Paraguay make a short documentary about different forms of development aid, in particular the success of the Oxfam Model. The only things I have to wait on are finding out how much money I get from the University Fellowships Committee, and whether the San Pedro community will actually let me film a documentary.

Wonderful things that made this week the best ever:

Winning an ASG grant, winning the JESUIT OLYMPICS (competition between 10 teams of 5 students and one Jesuit), performing at the Boston College Arts Festival 2009 with the BC Swing Kids (one performance down, one to go), and it's spring. Life is good.


Friday, April 17, 2009


My mom is awesome and just scheduled an appointment at the Travel Clinic for me when I get home in May. I will be getting Typhoid Fever, a TB test, probably Yellow Fever, and possibly a Rabies vaccination. The Rabies vaccination really makes me laugh, just because that's not something you hear about everyday.
So yeah, I'm thinking about vaccinations right now :) I definitely don't want to get sick on the trip, and am going to be smart about what I eat and drink.



$1262 RAISED!

THANK YOU and keep it coming :) The deadline is May 1st.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting excited...

On Friday I sent off my visa application (I will need one to enter Paraguay), and then today my extremely large packet of training materials arrived from AMIGOS, full of good information about health, safety, community development, my role as a volunteer, and pretty much anything else I am going to need to know to make this summer successful and productive for me and the community of San Pedro, Paraguay.
I really getting excited now, and it's definitely starting to seem real. I keep getting donations from friends and family, thank you all so much. I've still got a long way to go but the progress made has been absolutely incredible.
I am going to start my online training soon, it's due by May 8th (right in the middle of finals), so it's time to get to work! No time like the present...


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Progress Update

Hello Everyone!

Thank you for all your support so far! And am extremely happy to report that between contributions from my friends through my Facebook group called $2 for Elizabeth and Paraguay, my extra work hours, and the extremely wonderful contributions I have received in the mail thus far, the amount raised as of today, Wednesday March 25th, 2009 is $547! Thank you so much! If this great success rate continues I will be able to reach my goal of $4400 in no time.

People have been really receptive and excited for me and my experience this summer so I want to thank everyone for that. Especially my friends at school who will hand me $2 without me even asking for it, and to everyone who has mailed in checks, I appreciate it so much.

In addition to the fundraising efforts I have applied for two grants through Boston College, one through the Film Studies department and one called an Advanced Study Grant. I am waiting to hear if these grants will work out (I should hear by mid-April). These grants would also be an extreme help! I have already been awarded the Film Studies grant for $1000 (called the Jacques Salmanowitz Documentary grant) which would involve making a short documentary while in Paraguay, but I can't accept it unless my documentary proposal is approved by AMIGOS, Plan Paraguay, and the host community, so fingers crossed!

Thanks for everything,


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Let the Fundraising Begin!

I'm back from a FANTASTIC spring break service trip in Aberdeen, North Carolina to work with Habitat for Humanity through Boston College's Appalachia volunteer program! The experience was amazing, I met a bunch wonderful people and had an absolutely fabulous time.

Now that I'm back I'm shifting into high gear in my preparations for Paraguay, including FUNDRAISING! I mailed the first round of letters on Monday, and I'll be sending out another batch tomorrow to ask for support. I'm also going to make a Facebook group and ask that my friends support me by donating $2 a person to AMIGOS in my name. Every little bit helps!

Check out the Amigos de las Americas website if you'd like to learn more about the non-profit before donating, and I'm happy to answer any questions as well!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Beginning of an Adventure

This summer I will be volunteering in San Pedro, Paraguay for 6 weeks (July 1st through August 12th) through a non-profit called Amigos de las Americas. I am EXTREMELY excited to have this opportunity to fully immerse myself in another language and way of life. I will live with a host family and work in the San Pedro community on projects involving fuel-effiicient stoves, reforestation, and nutrition education. I am eager to directly work with the San Pedro community and learn how non-profits and non-governmental organizaions (NGOs) function on an international level (in the future I hope to work with non-profits and NGOs on a long-term basis).

I am responsible for raising $4400 to fund my trip to Paraguay. I am dedicated to this goal and am making in my priority from now until my departure in late June. I will update my blog often so definitely check back in, and please consider helping me achieve my goal! Every little (or big) bit helps!

Today I had my phone interview and was officially accepted into the program. I'm really going! I can't wait...