Nepal – Briana Cranmer (2012)

Briana Cranmer

Briana Cranmeris a medical student at the University of Arizona.  During the summer of 2012, Briana worked in Nepal, providing direct health services in small villages as part of the Village Volunteer Program.  Briana received a $1500 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Briana’s travel safety tips:

Preparation to leave:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy
  • Schedule an appointment with your local travel health clinic to determine appropriate immunizations and necessary medications.  Malaria coverage is a necessity.  I recommend a few doses of ciprofloxacin to cover any episodes of severe diarrhea.  The travel health clinic will likely give you azithromycin instead of ciprofloxacin, claiming the ciprofloxacin does not have good coverage.  This is not completely accurate and I suggest taking both medications with you.
  • Obtain international health insurance.  I used STA Travel Insurance.
  • Make multiple copies of your passport, credit cards and all other important information.  Give a copy to someone at home that you trust.  Also, take a couple copies with you.
  • Book your flight.  I highly recommend Suraj at Zen Travels (he is a local Nepali with U.S. training).  He speaks English, is easily accessible by phone and email, and I personally met him while in Kathmandu.  No extra charges for commission and he can book domestic flights.
  • If you have a smart phone, bring it.  Otherwise I recommend buying a cheap phone while in country.  For 100 rupees (a little over $1 U.S. dollar), you get 30 minutes of talking time.
  • If you are unsure about water safety bring a water filter and water purifying tablets.
  • Shower shoes!
  • Have a back up plan for all situations.  Have a hotel name, address and number to go to in case you are lost or your ride does not show up.  Have all contact information for U.S. and international program directors you are working with.

In-transit and in country:

  • If you fly through Doha Qatar and have a layover >8 hours you will receive a free hotel voucher.  I was skeptical, but I met four other people with the same layover so we all went together.  You have to pass through customs/immigration to leave the airport and immigration on the way back into the airport, but there is plenty of time.  If you are still concerned about leaving the airport or your layover is <8 hours, the Oryx lounge costs $40 and offers showers, clean bathrooms, coffee and drinks, food and internet.  Highly recommended.
  • Domestic flights only allow 20kg or 44lbs per bag, so pack appropriately.
  • Domestic flights require payment of an airport tax +/- 200 rupees.
  • Don’t ride motorcycles, head trauma is severe!  Also, passengers rarely have helmets.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and actively participate in your safety.  I actually felt very safe in the city and villages, but I still wore a money belt and only carried part of my money.  I spent most of my time in the village so I cannot comment on other forms of travel throughout the country.  When I did travel it was with a group and we used a local taxi driver.
  • Be friendly and make friends with the local people.
  • DO NOT EAT food from local people.  They do not know how to prepare food for the American belly.
  • Avoid going out at night.  If you do go out at night, always take a local person with you and go in groups.
  • Dress appropriately.  Nothing revealing ladies.

Ecuador – Gwen Niekamp (2012)

Gwen Niekamp

Gwen Niekampgraduated from Vassar College.  Gwen volunteered this summer at the summer camp in Ecuador founded by another SWF recipient,   Emma Coates-Finke.  Gwen received a $1000 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Gwen’s travel safety tips:

Before you go, learn as much as you can about your destination—both the country as a whole and the specific city, neighborhood and/or community where you will be staying.

The travel I did with the help of Sara’s Wish brought me to San Clemente, Ecuador for the second time. I was fortunate because I could draw on my firsthand experiences from my previous trip in terms of bus schedules, accommodations and other things like local dialects. If you are preparing to travel somewhere new, look at blogs, travel guides and maps. Ask your friends or professors for recommendations and pick up key phrases in the local language (if you are headed to Ecuador, that means Spanish and Kichwa). If you are a big adventurer, you won’t be satisfied with only hearsay. Still, listening to the positive and negative experiences of other travelers is valuable, if only to help you build a list of must-sees and should-avoids. You can hit the ground running when you arrive in your host country and if a problem should arise, you will be familiar with effective coping strategies.

Register your travel information with the United States embassy.

This tip, like the first, isn’t specific to travelers to Ecuador. The U.S. State Department offers a free service called the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You can enter your travel information about your trip abroad and subscribe to Travel Warnings and Alerts for your destination country, which can help in an emergency. You can enroll online.

Be prepared for traveler’s sickness.

At camp inauguration, Emma and I performed a skit for the campers in which we poked fun at ourselves and other travelers. We used a gallon-size ziploc full of pills, lozenges, sunscreen, bug spray and our other pooled toiletries as a prop, and the skit got a good laugh from the kids who are familiar with over-prepared tourists.

I didn’t use much of the first-aid baggie that I had packed, but it wasn’t useless. Advil and Tums can help you cure common traveler’s sicknesses or at least treat them until you can reach a doctor. Some toiletries—notably tampons and contact lenses/solution—aren’t as widely available or cheap in Ecuador as they are in the U.S. Stock up on your prescriptions before you go.

Most importantly, make a note of the nearest hospital, doctor and pharmacy. Keep the doctor’s number at hand. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s a relief to have if you do.

Familiarize yourself with domestic transportation and travel safety in Ecuador.

I stayed in Quito by myself for a few days so I could meet camp volunteers at the airport. While in the city alone, I joined with other independent travelers for sightseeing, cab rides and walking at night. To avoid being thought of as “easy targets” by pick-pocketers in the Centro Histórico and other tourist areas, we tried to travel in small groups and use as much Spanish as possible.

Taxis are widely available in the northern cities of Ecuador where I traveled. Hoy, a newspaper based in Quito, printed an article in 2010 claiming that about a third of the city’s 15,000 taxis are unregistered and illegal. Only travel in cabs that are marked (the side doors should display a company name and a registration number). If a cab doesn’t have a meter, negotiate a price with the driver before you get in.

If you are traveling around the country by bus, buy tickets in the terminal before you board so that you are guaranteed a seat. At departure there might be a dozen empty seats, but as the bus fills, passengers holding tickets can and will kick you out of your seat. That means a long bus ride standing up or sitting in the aisle, which is uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worst.

Especially if you will be visiting the mountains, engaging in adventure tourism or hiking, bring a headlamp. Even Andean villages that are frequented by eco-tourists don’t have street lamps. With a flashlight or headlamp, you will be more visible to the drivers of cars and motorcycles that wind up mountain roads at top speeds. (I also found that my headlamp minimized my stumbling during nighttime trips to the outdoor bathroom!)

Be especially cautious when banking.

Due to service charges and exchange rates, using ATMs in other countries can be expensive. To avoid the expenses that add up after multiple transactions, I often withdrew larger amounts of cash at a time. If you are doing the same, do be cautious. Don’t take out cash in unfamiliar neighborhoods, when you are by yourself or after dark. As soon as the ATM spits out the cash, divide it and hide it in several different secure pockets. To do this as discreetly as possible, I recommend using ATMs that are inside banks and not in view of the passersby on a crowded city street. Needless to say, if you are out running errands, stop at the ATM towards the end of your trip so that you can minimize the amount of time you are walking around with large amounts of cash on your person.

Petty theft and pick-pocketing comprise the bulk of crime in Ecuador, especially around the city of Ibarra where I spent the summer. Thieves usually seek cash (again, do be conscious of those around you when you are banking), but the bright side is that identity theft and cybercrime are much less common. If your wallet is stolen, contact your bank and cancel your banking card, but don’t panic; your card has probably been tossed without a second look.

Seek immersion, but remove yourself from situations in which you feel unsafe.

Definitions of safety and security differ between Ecuador and the United States. I grew up accustomed to security cameras in stores, but in Ecuador I was followed up and down aisles by teenage security guards with machine guns. As another example: Ecuadorians, especially near Ibarra, tend to travel in the beds of pickup trucks without the slightest thought to buckle up, which has always been second nature to me.

Travel demands that you challenge yourself to adapt to a new culture. This could mean trying new foods, eating meals at new times, wearing clothes that do not automatically label you as a tourist, among many other examples. Seeking immersion is admirable… but trust your instincts when it comes to your safety.

If your cab driver seems to be drunk, get out of the car. If your host family mistreats you or if a member of the family does or says something inappropriate, switch host families. If a stranger offers to give you a ride to your destination while you are waiting for a bus, say no, gracias and wait the few extra minutes.

By all means be an open-minded adventurer, but your safety should never be a compromise.

Malawi – Kelli Wong (2012)

Kelli Wong

Kelli Wonggraduated from Colgate University and received her medical degree from Tulane.  Now in her residency in pediatrics, Kelly spent a month in Malawi providing medical care to HIV positive children.  Kelly received a $1500 scholarship from  Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Kelli’s travel safety tips:

  1. Always let someone know where you are going, how you are traveling, when you are leaving and when you should be expected to return. Also give your phone number to a trusted person if you have a mobile phone. I always told my lodge my travel plans, and it was nice to have someone check in with me to make sure I am safe.
  2. It is always nice to be social when in public places (e.g. restaurants, bars, hotels), but be wary of the information you tell others about yourself and be cautious that others may be listening. Because of the fuel crisis in Malawi, I was frequently trying to meet people (other international visitors) who may want to travel with me on the weekends. While at a restaurant, I was arranging a meeting point and told a friend where I was staying. Apparently a local overheard my conversation, mentioned to me where I was staying, and this made me feel very uncomfortable. As a consequence, I changed rooms within the lodge.
  3. When you travel abroad, always bring both a mastercard and visa with you. Some countries’ or cities’ banks may only accept one to get out money. For Malawi, most ATMs take visa only.
  4. When taking a taxi, always set your price and drop off point outside the car before you trip. Whenever possible try to share a cab with others going to remotely the same area. If you get a taxi driver you trust/like or even a car with functioning seatbelts, ask for the drivers mobile number and use him/her whenever possible.
  5. Know what time it gets dark at night, and never walk alone at night. Your lodge watchman may be willing to come pick you up and walk you back to the lodge, if you are not too far from your place of stay.
  6. Carry a headlamp on you at all times. Especially in Africa, because you never know where you will be when the power goes out.

Argentina – Kimberly Ellenson (2012)

Kimberly Ellenson

Kimberly Ellensonis a graduate of Cornell University.  Kimberly is living in Argentina for six months, where she is volunteering with the Foundation for Sustainable Development and focusing on increasing access to health care for impoverished citizens.  Kimberly received a $1500 scholarship  from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Kimberly’s travel safety tips:

The Argentine Northwest is replete with breathtaking landscapes, soaring mountains, and vertigo-inspiring scenery. If you are fortunate enough to travel through the region, there’s a lot to see within hours of each other – the Atacama Desert in Chile, the colonial city of Salta, the marketplaces and jungles of Jujuy, and mountain pueblos throughout the provinces steeped in tradition and culture of the indigenous people. The proximity of these wonders means that travel throughout the region is frequent and possible. Unfortunately, this also means that common and not-so-common travel awareness is necessary.

  1. Common travel tips: don’t carry large sums of money, make copies of your passport and put them in different places, travel with someone whenever possible, ensure others know of your travel plans and destinations.
  2. Read Lonely Planet or other travel books/blogs to familiarize yourself with the area before you go. Often you will find location-specific safety tips that will heighten your awareness and make you a savvier traveler.
  3. Prior to arriving in a larger city, find the number for the local remis (taxi) service. These remises are required to register their pick-up and drop-off points. Never enter an unmarked taxi, even though they will frequently stop if you need a cab. If you cannot access the remis number, only enter marked taxis, and be sure others know of your whereabouts.
  4. Always carry an extra phone card on you. Local cell phones operate on credit, and at times I would find myself out of credit but needing to call a taxi or friend. I always had an extra 30-peso (about $5) phone card on me just in case.
  5. Speak Spanish if and whenever possible. Locals will appreciate your efforts.
  6. Wear darker or subtler clothing. Argentines are conservative dressers and well-dressed, from blue-collar to white-collar individuals. Clothing with loud or bright patterns will peg you as a foreigner.
  7. If someone begs for money, respond with a polite “no gracias”. When you are courteous, the person simply turns around or stops asking; if you ignore them, they are more likely to follow you.
  8. If you are unsure about a destination or bus stop, just ask someone! Argentines are very friendly and love to help foreigners, and often times they will “have your back” and make sure you get to your final destination safely.
  9. Try not to engage in political talk. A common sentiment found in Argentina is that Americans have an Imperialist mindset and act entitled. The best approach is to remove yourself from such conversations or comment that your government doesn’t define your thinking.
  10. Stay away from plazas at night.

Traveling through Argentina is a life-changing experience. Be open to the wonderful people you will meet, things you will see and learn, and delicious food you will eat. Just use common sense and familiarize yourself with the places you’re going, and you will experience all the wonders this beautiful country has to offer!

Kenya – Mariah Hennen (2012)

Mariah Hennen

Mariah Hennenis a student at Kalamazoo College. Mariah spent the summer of 2012 in Kenya where she is worked with The Umoja Project, developing a palliative care program for vulnerable children.  Mariah received a $1500 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Mariah’s travel safety tips:

Kenya touched my inner-soul and left there a mark that I wasn’t expecting.  I went to Kenya preparing myself for a more professional experience; centering myself on the idea that I was there to intern and my learning would be focused around that experience.  However, I left Kenya with more personal and heartfelt experiences, rather than entirely professional.  My memories of Kenya are grounded on the people I met, the stories I heard and the times I shared with others.  I came expecting to develop professionally; I left having developed as a human-being.

For me, I will always remember Kenya as a time full of joy.  As result of the people I met and the work I was fortunate to complete, in Kenya I felt so free, alive and joyful.  Kenya supported my growth and challenged me in exciting ways.  I attribute my growth primarily to one of distinguishing characteristics of my time in Kenya: the people.  In Kenya the tradition of hospitality is genuine and generous.  Coming from the United States, a place where the welcoming of strangers is much less common, at times the Kenyan hospitality was overwhelming.  Often, it was also humbling; as those who had little offered me whatever they could, sometimes a cup of tea or several avocados harvested from the tree behind the house.  No matter where I was, at a school, visiting a home or walking down the road, the happiness to receive visitors was inspiring.  These experiences challenged me to think about the way I treat visitors in the U.S., causing me to question whether I am as grateful for the presence of a stranger, as I am happy to welcome a friend.  In Kenya I was received joyfully into communities that respected me as person and treated me as friend.  Together we celebrated the pleasure that comes from creating relationships and through these relationships I learned about a different culture and about myself.

The Kenya that is portrayed in the media is commonly one of horrible sadness and despair.  This is not the Kenya I experienced.  While there are terribly difficult situations, there is also so much good occurring.  Kenya is filled with incredibly dedicated and truly decent people, who are devoting their lives to creating a better future for all Kenyans.  Every day I was inspired by the people I worked with; their abilities to be visionaries of a better world, to empathize with those in their communities and to channel their emotions into productive work.  The guardians, the teachers and the religious leaders, who tirelessly dedicate themselves to the orphans and vulnerable children in their communities, taught me about just how positive change occurs when communities come together to work to solve an issue.  As I interned in Kenya I was often reminded that related challenges also exist in the United States.  Here there are also orphans and vulnerable children, here there are addicts and street children, and here there are people who go to bed hungry.  Reflecting upon this, I am challenged to examine whether I am dedicated enough to work to change big issues not only in Kenya, but in the United States.  Despite the difficulties around the world, my time in Kenya, being part of an incredible organization and seeing amazing work being done, gave me hope.  Change is possible, it just takes commitment.

My time in Kenya was full of personal growth.  It provided me the space to reflect on where I have been, where I perceive my life to be going and decide if I was taking the correct steps forward.  There was professional growth, too – I did learn an incredible amount about how international partnerships work and the struggles of grassroots work that come along with working directly with communities.  Most importantly, I left with a better understanding of if this type of work is my future.  It is an unclear answer and I still have much to ponder, but this summer left me with incredible ideas and models for what my life might include.  This experience challenged me to contemplate about what healthy lifestyles are, to think critically about U.S. involvement in international NGOs and to reflect upon my remaining college years.  This summer opened up new doors and reaffirmed my passion and excitement for the future.

I left Kenya with family, friends and a place to go back to in the future.  Kenya embraced me and I am honored to be a part of communities there.  My time is colored by the incredible people I met, by the scenes of joy I experienced and by the times of fellowship I shared.  Kenya is a blur of color and smells, a mixture of sweet and sour, a combination of sadness and joy, and full of an overwhelming sense of hope for the future.  I am eternally grateful for the support I received from Sara’s Wish Foundation.  Without the support my time in Kenya would not have transpired and I would have missed an amazing experience.  Kenya changed my life, inspiring me to continue forward and showing me hope for the future.

Specific Safety Tips

  • Learn and follow local traditions and customs, especially regarding dress, gender relations and hospitality.
  • If possible, always travel with a partner or partners.
  • Avoid harassing/pestering individuals by evading eye contact, ignoring comments, moving away or engaging in conversation within your group.
  • Learn some words in the local language.  These might include thank you, please, hello, how much, no and yes.  Even speaking a little of the local language opens up possibilities for relationships and such relationships help create a safety net around you when you’re in the area.
  • Treat everyone with respect and openness; such behavior provides you better treatment and allows you to further enter into the community.
  • Use common sense when traveling by public transportation.  Never enter overcrowded matatus (buses), examine motorcycle drivers and their bikes carefully, and always determine the price of a ride before you get on.
  • Don’t stay out after dark.
  • Never tell someone where exactly you are headed.  Instead when asked, answer “around” or “in the area”
  • Trust yourself.  If you feel uncomfortable then remove yourself from the situation.
  • Don’t travel with valuables.
  • Use a bag that crosses over your body and that you can keep close.  Especially when in crowded areas stay aware of the position of your bag.
  • Keep a contact list for yourself while in country and provide a list of contacts for family and friends back in the US.  Set times when you will call back to the US just to say you’re okay.
  • It really helps to have a local cell phone, even if you only use it for emergencies.

India – Olya Clark (2012)

Olya Clark

Olya Clarkis a doctoral student in public health at UMass/Amherst. Olya traveled to India where she worked at an educational center, focusing on creating a program for abandoned  women.  Olya received a $1500 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Olya Clark’s travel safety tips:

My first travel tip would be to read the tips posted by the other Sara’s Wish Scholarship Recipients.  They contain much sage advice and here I will try to add to the list, rather than duplicate the excellent advice that has already been written.

My advice is simple to say, but hard to do: study the history of the places you are going.  Every place on earth has its own unique history: wars, imperialism and colonialism, exploitation and so on. That past creates the present into which we enter when we travel, and to be oblivious of that history puts us at risk. For example, it would be very hard for a foreigner visiting the United States to understand contemporary race relations in this country if they knew nothing of America’s history of slavery, Jim Crow, and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  Yet, the legacy of that oppression and struggle for freedom is with us every day, and every person is situated somewhere with respect to it by the color of her skin, even if they are “just visiting.”

Sometimes the history one needs to be aware of goes back hundreds of years, and sometimes it is much more recent than that. Unless you are the first outsider to visit a country, there will be a history created by those tourists’ actions that can also affect you.  For example, in India, where I spent my time, many outsiders travel to places like Goa. There, they seem only interested in the beach, in drinking, and in obtaining drugs.  Heedless of local social mores, many women sun topless on the beach.  These actions form a history that creates a climate in which women – particularly white women from the United States and Europe – are seen as morally loose and sexually promiscuous.  The narrative of this history puts all women who come after them at risk.

So my advice is to get yourself some books – preferably written by the people from the country itself, not other outsiders – and learn the history. It will make you safer and it will deepen your understanding of, and appreciation for, the country you are about to visit.

Malawi – Yuen Ho (2012)

Yuen Ho

Yuen Ho, graduated from UNC Chapel Hill, where she majored in economics.  Yuen worked in Malawi this the 2012 summer, interning with a non-profit organization to help develop leadership programs for youth.  Yuen received a $1500 scholarship from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Yuen Ho’s travel safety tips:

First and foremost, Malawi lives up to its name as the “Warm Heart of Africa.” In general, people are incredibly friendly and helpful. During my travels throughout Malawi I felt safe and welcomed. However, there are still safety tips to keep in mind to ensure that your experiences in Malawi are the best possible.

Public Transportation: Public transportation just might be the most dangerous thing you encounter while in Malawi. In general, the public “minibuses” used around cities are old and in poor condition, and they are always crammed full beyond capacity. Instead of taking the minibus, opt for taking a taxi or shared taxi. While it’s a little more expensive, it’s safer and usually quicker as well. For longer distances, it is worth it to choose a private coach bus over the public buses. Again, public buses are usually in poor condition with extra people crammed down the aisle. In comparison, private buses will only travel with one to a seat and each seat comes with a seatbelt! The AXA Bus Company is a great pick, and tickets are usually only $4-$8 more than the public option. Also, if a driver is driving too fast, don’t be afraid to tell them to slow down.

Traveling at Night: In general, it is best to avoid traveling at night. The roads rarely have working streetlights and drinking and driving is a major problem. Also, walking at night makes you an easier target for muggings and attacks. If you have to travel at night, always do so with other people or a group and only take private cars or taxis.

Respecting Cultural Norms: As is the case with traveling to any foreign country, respecting the local cultural is important. I found that norms in Malawi can differ drastically between rural village areas and urban cities. For example, in villages, traditional wear is very important and women especially should wear appropriate clothing such as long skirts and shirts with sleeves. However, in the cities, it is normal for women to wear skirts and shorts at knee-level as well as pants and tank tops. Respecting cultural norms is a good way to prevent drawing attention to yourself.

Communication: It’s a good idea to check in with your country’s embassy when you arrive in Malawi. The embassy can keep you up to date on safety issues and events in the local area. Also, when traveling, keep in contact with family and friends and let them know what your plans are.

Health/Food: At least in Lilongwe, there are no water sanitation facilities in the city. Never drink tap water, make sure to always purify it before you drink (boiling, UV light, iodine tablets, etc). Some places, especially in rural areas, will sell you “home bottled” water that has not been treated, don’t drink the water unless it’s been treated. Also, Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) is a parasite found in Lake Malawi. In some popular tourist areas, such as Cape Maclear, transmission rates can be very high due to the population density. To avoid contracting Bilharzia, don’t swim in the water. However, if you do swim, Bilharzia is easily treated and medication is available throughout Malawi. Just make sure to get checked by a doctor and take the appropriate medicine. Finally, especially in the wet season, Malaria can be a big concern while in Malawi. To prevent contracting Malaria, you should take anti-malarials during your trip. You should also sleep under a mosquito net and apply bug spray when going outside.

India – Ruju Rai (2011)

Ruju Rai - 2011 Recipient to India

Ruju Rai, a medical student at Boston University Ruju, spent six months in India volunteering with the “Unite for Sight” organization which works to eliminate preventable blindness among people who live in extreme poverty. Ruju was awarded the Inga Tocher scholarship for 2011 in the amount of $1750 from Sara’s Wish Foundation.

Here are Ruju’s travel safety tips:

  • Whenever possible, do not travel after dark
  • Always travel with trusted local staff members of the organization you work with since they know the language and the area well.
  • Buy a phone and SIM card upon arrival. Store local and US emergency contact numbers on the phone and always keep it loaded with at least 100 Rs.
  • Give family and friends from home your phone number as soon as you get a phone.
  • Never carry large amounts of cash or other valuables on you. Always keep your money close to your body and hold your purse in front of you with a hand on it at all times. Keep different amounts of money in multiple different locations (an envelope with a smaller amount of cash in the front of your purse, an envelope with a larger amount of cash deep inside, etc). Do not let others see how much money you are carrying. Keep your money organized so that when buying something, you can turn away from the vender to discreetly and quickly take out the amount you need.
  • Keep locks on your luggage at all times and always lock your door when you step out.
  • Dress conservatively, speak softly in the streets, and do your best not to draw attention to yourself.
  • Avoid areas where you see man or a group of men loitering (drinking, smoking, staring at passersby)
  • Use your gut instincts. If a situation doesn’t feel right to you, it’s probably a red flag. It’s better to be safe and exit the situation ASAP.
  • If ever put in a situation where you must deal with dangerous individuals, stay calm, composed and pleasant. Do not argue and always have an exit strategy.
This entry was posted on November 7, 2012, in 2011, Asia.

India – Ericka Schnitzer (2000)

Ericka Schnitzer applied for her scholarship while pursuing a MA/PhD degree at the Divinity School at the Unversity of Chicago. Ericka attended a Hindi language immersion program in Rajasthan, India, during the fall of 2000. While in India Ericka worked with a group of children on art projects aimed at gaining an understanding of their visual conceptions of the gods and goddesses that their families worship. Once back in Chicago, Ericka planned to hold an exhibition of the children’s artwork through the University of Chicago’s Divinity School in conjunction with the Department of South Asian Studies. One goal of the exhibition was tol recognize the contributions of Sara’s Wish Foundation to this project. Ericka’s scholarship totaled $2000 to cover travel costs and the costs of art supplies.

Here are Ericka’s travel safety tips:

Travel by train rather than bus whenever possible. Use mineral water for drinking, brushing your teeth, etc.

This entry was posted on November 7, 2012, in 2000, Asia.

Philippines – Jeanette Heinrichs (2001)

Jeanette Heinrichs was pursuing a dissertation in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2001. The $1000 Jeanette received from Sara’s Wish Foundation helped to defray the costs of her trip to The Philippines where she engaged in field research studying the efforts of Filipina women to combat the global trafficking of women.

Here are Jeanette’s travel safety tips:

Kidnapping happens to tourists in the Philippines. In order to avoid it, never travel alone or ride a taxi or FX alone. Carry a cell phone with you when you travel abroad, even if you don’t normally use one at home.

This entry was posted on November 7, 2012, in 2001, Asia.