This blog I thought I would introduce some of the new volunteers that have arrived at Iracambi
Mimi, as she prefers to be called, is a lawyer from Germany. But I don’t think the term lawyer alone does her justice and I don’t think she would appreciate me defining her by her nationality so scratch that. She is exploring whether the legal system can be used as a tool for political change. I say explore because although she is a trained lawyer she does not take it as an assumption that the law is inherently good. Oh, if only there were more lawyers like this. She has worked for asylum seekers rights and many other good causes but at Iracambi she has been looking at the mining company and their impact on communities and the environment. But she also likes to get her hands dirty in the forest nursery where she regularly helps water, clean and plant seedlings. After she picked ROSA LUXEMBURG as one of her favorite historical figures, I knew we would get along!
Cliff is a Geographical Information System (or GIS) expert who previously worked for the government in Alaska but has decided to embark on a journey around Latin America working for NGO’s with no end date in mind. I am a little (very) jealous of Cliff because he has learned such a useful skill that can really help the environment and local communities. I mean studying Rousseau and Marx isn’t quite as practical as mapping regions which can then be used for anything ranging from monitoring water scarcity to effectively demonstrating the impact mining companies have on the environment. Apart from his technical side, he is also a wonderful and thoughtful person who is committed to making this world a better place. Cliff and I have bonded over some interesting debates (religion, gun control, morality) and I hope to have many more with him.
Jet is an environmental student from Australia. Jet arrived late at Iracambi as he fell sick while attending a capoeira conference in Rio. I mention this because at the center rumors started to spread about why he kept delaying his arrival date. At first, we thought he was just lazy. Then began whispers about him finding true love and settling down somewhere in Brasil. Finally Tom brought up the possibility that this was an elaborate plan by Robin, the NGO founder, to prank me while testing my patience as a Volunteer Coordinator. We had fabricated a whole personality for Jet by the time he arrived. It turns out that he isn’t lazy, didn’t fall in love and was not fictional character created by Robin to test me.. he was just sick. As a matter of fact, Jet is the hardest working person I have met.. ever. Jet arrived as we were starting to dig holes for the new forest nursery tables we are constructing to hold more seedlings for reforestation. Making holes is hard work especially considering that every time you start digging you find a rock the size of the Himalayas under the surface making it quite difficult to dig! But Jet is a hole digging machine. Not to mention he has already written a research paper on shade grown coffee!
Janet the 2nd (she sounds like royalty) is our newest member so forgive me if this is short. Janet the 2nd is another GIS expert who comes from Australia. She is taking a Masters degree in Geographical Information Technology and decided to volunteer in a foreign land for a grassroots organization instead of do the run of the mill office-based internship. I know she is passionate about hiking and although she managed to join us for a hike up Iracambi’s high trail I am sure she can get many more hikes in while she is here!
Meet Thor: Thor is actually the newest member of our team. Robin and Binka, the founders of Iracambi, already have a boxer named “Toffee” but they have introduced a baby into the mix with the hope that Toffee’s proper dog manners will be instilled into Thor. Thor is 42 days old and has a Masters in oh-my-gosh-you-are-cute-ology.