We started off as unfamiliar faces to the children of Advance Preschool, but as the days went on they embraced us in the same manner that we embraced them. Our team could not have anticipated how difficult it would be to say goodbye to the little faces that shined so brightly. Our team started with the mindset of us giving back to the children, but now know that we received so much more. We all agree that our lives are enriched from the experiences we shared in Chicago.
Please enjoy some of the photos from our service trip!
*We were unable to take photos of children for privacy reasons.
Sherra Bennett - ASB Chicago Site Leader (1 of 2)
Heba Sobh - ASB Chicago Team Member
After taking shelter in various locations due to the strong storms and tornado watches rolling through the south, I'm happy to say that all three traveling teams are safe for the night! NOLA is staying outside of Chattanooga, the Everglades team is in northern Georgia, and the Kentucky team is safe at their site. What an adventure!
5. The Monkey Jungle. Not only was it amazing to learn new things about beautiful animals, but we also had the opportunities to partner with some highschool students and tell them about college (also promote UMD).
4. The Everglades Hostel. I bet the first thing that comes to mind when you think "hostel" is that horror movie, but this place is awesome. Not only do we get to interact with people from all over the world (also some other Michiganders!!) but it is gorgeous! It's like an small jungle, with a pretty waterfall and lots of trees to climb. There is even a giant chess set! Pictures to come soon.
3. The weather. In Michigan, I have to wear Uggs, a three sweaters, a hoodie and a winter coat to go outside to warm my car up. Today it has been in the seventies/low eighties with a light breeze.
2. The plant life. There are plants in the backyard of the Hostel that I have never seen before, let alone when we venture outside of it. Everything is fragrant, and at any given time you can smell mint, hibiscus, and/or lavender. A lot of things are in bloom right now and small flowers place dots of color in the huge green bushes.
1. My fellow ASBers. Honestly, did you expect something else. :)
Today the Everglades trip volunteered at the Monkey Jungle/DuMond Conservancy. Our day there was broken up between service and education. On the service side, we had the opportunity to work on getting the monkeys lunches ready (cutting up foods and preparing the adequate amount for each different monkey). When this was done, we got to go into the cage of each monkey and hand deliver it to them!
We also learned about a petition that is being sponsored by the DuMond Conservancy that is investigating the trade of night (owl) monkeys in Columbia. This petition is meant to preserve the population of night monkeys. Our group members volunteered at a table which was educating visitors of the Monkey Jungle on the issue, and asking for signatures from them. We were also given petitions to take home with us and have people sign to help this cause. Our group is committed to getting signatures for this and we feel that this can be our long-term impact to the Monkey Jungle/DuMond Conservancy.
We learned more about the different species of monkeys. Every different type of monkey is unique in its own way. We met a gorilla, pictured below named "King". He is 43 years old, has the brain of a 3 year old, but the strength of 6-7 grown men (that might not be the best combination) . However, he lives much like us. For example, the Monkey Jungle created a hut for King, and it has both air conditioning and heat. Not only that, but it also has a HD television, equipped with a special remote that King operates himself. King's favorite things to watch on TV are March of the Penguins and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am not kidding.
More on the illegal trade of owl monkeys in South America:
Also, they are super cute!
The Everglades group had a great time volunteering at Monkey Jungle and the Dumond Conservancy. Among other projects, one of our tasks was to collect signatures for a petition to protect Owl Monkeys in Colomiba and Peru. To date, there have been over 4,000 Owl Monkeys captured in their native habitats in Peru and sold to a malaria laboratory in Colombia. There, the monkeys's spleens are removed, they are injected with malaria, tested, and released back into the wild. This is unethical treatment of the monkeys and poses harzards for other species as well.
We're bringing petitions back with us, so you can do your part to protect the Owl Monkey! We'll send the signatures back to Miami and they will pass them along to Colombia where the trial for these researchers has just begun. Can't wait to collect more signatures from Michigan!