Join us at the University of Pittsburgh February 6th and 7th for the regional Global Brigades Student Leadership Conference! Please consider joining GB Pittsburgh in an event full of inter-campus collaboration and networking. Attendees will have the opportunity to not only discuss their role as a GB volunteer, but will also learn more about international development. If you are interested in attending, please complete this Registration Form by January 31st.
Members of GB gathered at Old Main to remember several volunteers who were tragically lost on their recent brigade to Honduras.
A week and a half ago several volunteers were injured and some lost their lives in a tragic accident:
Olivia Erhardt, 20
Daniella Moffson, 21
Abigail Flanagan, 45
These volunteers had just completed their brigade to rural Honduras to provide medical attention to community members in great need. Many of us can relate to the selfless journey these women completed in Honduras- the hard work of devoting time and money to help others.
Our thoughts are with our Global Brigades family at Columbia University, their loved ones, and the staff members involved in the tragedy.
At the vigil we reflected on some of our most memorable brigade experiences, sharing heartfelt memories of working with community members and feeling the positive impacts of empowerment.
After this tragedy you may wonder, “What can I do to support the victims involved in the accident?”
Campus Chairperson Eli LaSota has reached out to our Global Brigades family at Columbia University offering our support; but for the time being, it has been asked that we all remain resolute in our pursuit of social justice and global citizenry in honor of the victims. May we all come together in an attempt to fill the void created by the loss of these remarkable and inspiring human beings.
While most of us tried to keep warm, Alaina Zappas and her brigades worked in warm San Lorenzo, Valle, Honduras alongside community members of el Junguillo- focusing on medicine and dentistry.
Sophomore BBH student Kelly Aksu traveled on the brigade and tells us about how this first brigade experience changed her expectations...
KA: Honduras was an awesome experience! During my brigade, I met so many people who were
grateful for our help. I did not realize the abundant medical need in rural Honduras until I
witnessed it with my own eyes. So many people were living in environments where disease and
bacteria thrived. People lined up early in the morning before we arrived to receive medical
help. They were so happy to receive materials we all take for granted such as toothbrushes, and
generic painkillers. It was a great feeling watching the relieved reactions of mothers as we
handed their child acetaminophen for their fever, or headache. Something so simple and easy
for us, but so meaningful for others. As a hybrid medical and water brigade, we were able to
treat the immediate medical needs of people, while also demolishing the medical problems at
the source by digging trenches for fresh water. Although it was grueling digging trenches in the
90-degree weather, it was so satisfying to work with the community to improve their homes
and create a better future for their families. I learned so much from this experience. People of
rural Honduras taught me the value of family and community. Everyone in the community was
willing to help their neighbors and community members in need. They shared everything from
kitchens to drinking wells to help each other survive. In just one week in Honduras I felt like I
made an impact. I also learned about the holistic model of Global Brigades and went to a
holistic community in Honduras. This enabled me to see the sustainable environment Global
Brigades is creating for communities. Overall, this trip opened my eyes to vast problems in the
world. It made me appreciate the lifestyle I live, while motivating my drive to change the life of
All photos are courtesy of Joseph Clark's Instagram account, @fullmanchu
About the Author
My name is Alana Mazzei and I'm the Webmaster for the Campus Council Eboard! I am assisted by Joseph Clark who also is the Social/PR chairperson of Medical/Dental, and the GB photographer, Harvey Li. We would love to hear about your experiences with Global Brigades at Penn State!