Orange (Thought) Bubble

A Princeton University Tumblr

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International Service Trip: Sharing the Princeton Spirit

March 20, 2014

On Thursday we returned to Tambococha to continue the work that some of us had started on Monday. Tambococha is a beautiful community situated in a valley that is surrounded by mountains. We spent Monday laying out rocks to create a patio outside of the community president’s home, with the idea being to keep a clean outdoor surface free of dirt, mud and animal droppings. ProWorld’s usual technique is to place rocks in a Tetris like manner and fill in the cracks with concrete. However, the owner of the house had a different idea and decided to fill the entire patio with concrete, not just the cracks between rocks. Since our goal was to provide a clean surface and collaborate with the community partner we decided to continue with his approach. We spent the day moving rocks, pouring concrete, and having some really great discussions about life and Princeton with the Princeton University Bridge Year students. It was a great end to the service component of our trip.

We got a pleasant surprise when, Patrick, our ProWorld contact, told us we would be able to see the Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo. Bill, our tour guide, told us stories of Inca mythology as we sat on the ancient ruins, looking down at the terra cotta thatched roofs of Ollanta. As with most sacred ruins there was a love story, a story of the low-born Ollanta falling madly in love with a princess above his station. The smooth and tight connections of the rocks were also a testament to glory of Inca architecture and engineering. Finally, the echoing chambers, cut precisely into the walls, spoke to Incan spiritualism and mythology. We explored Ollanta at length, crossing through the narrow Inca paths to look down at the stunning views below and above. The view looked like it has been photoshopped in.

Immediately after our return from Ollantaytambo, the IST team began working vigorously on the circuitry for the second solar suitcase. Having already completed the circuitry for the first suitcase and having studied and reviewed the conceptual components behind it, we were all quite familiar with the process this time around. Invigorated by our exciting visit to the ruins and the prospect of a fantastic dinner with the Princeton Bridge Year students, we were making record time and working fluidly as a team. Unfortunately, as we went to finish the negative wiring, we ran into issues with a single thread in the charge controller. The screw for the battery negative was not going in, making it impossible to complete a functional circuit. Despite a significant amount of trouble shooting, the screw would not budge, and we decided to continue trying after dinner. Once we realized that the charge controller could not be fixed in a timely matter, we made the decision to take the defective charge controller home with us and to ship a new one to ProWorld, who has agreed to construct and install the remaining We Share Solar suitcase in Corpani Peñas after the community center they want the solar electric system to be installed in is built. We feel confident that ProWorld and the Princeton Bridge Year Peru students can effectively build and install the system in the community to meet their needs.

The team was really looking forward to dinner, because this meal would be shared with the Bridge Year Peru students, who we were hoping to get a chance to interact with more. The evening began with a quick trip down to the town’s churro stand, a favorite among the Bridge Year students. We then proceeded to a Peruvian restaurant selected by the Bridge Year students, who helpfully explained each option on the menu, giving us suggestions on which of the regional dishes were the most delicious. It was extremely stressful deciding which dish to try out, since they made everything sound so amazing! While waiting for our meal to be served, we began engaging in interesting discussion. We talked about our interests on campus, followed by various questions about life at Princeton. We then proceeded to ask about the Bridge year experience, and reflections the students had thus far. Dinner was fantastic, and was followed by a trip to a local bakery to try tasty Peruvian pastries, such as alfajores. The night ended by sitting, talking, and dancing on the church steps in the plaza with the Bridge Year Peru students, which was the perfect way to spend our last night in Urubamba.

— The International Service Trip Team

Filed under Princeton Peru

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Animating science: Student videos explain ecological challenges

Conveying science to a broad audience in a way that is understandable, accurate and entertaining is an important — and challenging — task. Last semester, Princeton University students in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology got a chance to try their hand at that skill, creating animated short videos that focused on a wide variety of ecological challenges.

In the class “Ecology: Species Interactions, Biodiversity and Society,” undergraduates studied how wild organisms interact with each other in relation to their physical environments and human society. For their final projects, they were divided into small groups to translate a local environmental issue, such as extinction or species invasions. Students decided what information to include in creative and informative videos.

Read more, or watch two of the videos below.

Filed under Princeton video SteAm animating science

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The Beginning of the Beginning

breakoutphilly:

Let’s do this!" Monday morning marked the beginning of our winter(!!!) break Breakout Trip. Our spirits and expectations were high, appointments confirmed and cars loaded. And then…one of our vans refused to start. Turns out the first thing some of us learnt on this trip was actually how to…

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International Service Trip: On the Ground in Peru
March 16, 2014
After a very long journey we’re finally here in Urubamba! We landed in Cusco this morning at 8 a.m. where we were greeted by a representative of ProWorld Peru, the non-governmental organization (NGO) we’re working with on the ground in Peru, who took us on the hour and a half bus ride to Urubamba. Although some serious sleeping happened in the car, it was hard for us to choose between closing our eyes and enjoying the incredible views outside. We’re around 10,000 feet above sea level in the Sacred Valley region, which is surrounded by mountains in all directions. It’s a fantastic sight!
Once in Urubamba we had an orientation about ProWorld Peru’s projects and took a walking tour of the town. The houses we saw fascinated us since they were so different than those in the United States. There are rows of brick and cement houses laid out in a grid surrounding a beautiful plaza and the largest church in the city. We were also able to visit an enormous marketplace that was a vivid array of brilliant colors from the various fruit and vegetables that were on display. The friendly smiles, picturesque views and delicious aromas of Urubamba instantly made the International Service Trip (IST) team fall in love with the city.
After seeing the town, the IST team was able to meet with our respective host families and have lunch with them. We (Dallas and Mark) are staying with a woman named Antonia and her extremely friendly family (which fluctuates between six to 10 members at any given point during the day!). They drove us to their home, about 15 minutes from the ProWorld office, where we got to spend the rest of the afternoon meeting them and getting accustomed to the altitude and culture. After quick, and cold, showers we had some delicious pasta and got to play PlayStation 2 with Michael and Max, two of Antonia’s sons. The game? Futbol, of course!
I (Mark) took Spanish in high school, but was never very good, and my two years of Korean at Princeton has supplanted much of my knowledge. I was frightened going into the day knowing that communication with the primarily Spanish-speaking family was going to be difficult. Luckily, I was happily surprised! Between my broken Spanish, their knowledge of some English words, and some really big hand motions we were able to talk quite a bit.
I (Dallas) took two and a half years of Spanish online in high school and have not used it since. I was also nervous about not knowing very much, but as soon as we started conversing with our host family, I began to get really excited about remembering and re-learning the language. It was incredible to see how, even with our little knowledge of Spanish and their little knowledge of English, we were able to bridge our cultures and share so much with each other.
Now that the IST team has safely arrived and settled into our homestays, we could not be more thrilled with the packed itinerary we have for the week! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure, when we will be working on healthy homes projects and gearing up for our solar projects!
— Dallas Nan ‘16 and Mark Benjamin ‘14

pace-center:

International Service Trip: On the Ground in Peru

March 16, 2014

After a very long journey we’re finally here in Urubamba! We landed in Cusco this morning at 8 a.m. where we were greeted by a representative of ProWorld Peru, the non-governmental organization (NGO) we’re working with on the ground in Peru, who took us on the hour and a half bus ride to Urubamba. Although some serious sleeping happened in the car, it was hard for us to choose between closing our eyes and enjoying the incredible views outside. We’re around 10,000 feet above sea level in the Sacred Valley region, which is surrounded by mountains in all directions. It’s a fantastic sight!

Once in Urubamba we had an orientation about ProWorld Peru’s projects and took a walking tour of the town. The houses we saw fascinated us since they were so different than those in the United States. There are rows of brick and cement houses laid out in a grid surrounding a beautiful plaza and the largest church in the city. We were also able to visit an enormous marketplace that was a vivid array of brilliant colors from the various fruit and vegetables that were on display. The friendly smiles, picturesque views and delicious aromas of Urubamba instantly made the International Service Trip (IST) team fall in love with the city.

After seeing the town, the IST team was able to meet with our respective host families and have lunch with them. We (Dallas and Mark) are staying with a woman named Antonia and her extremely friendly family (which fluctuates between six to 10 members at any given point during the day!). They drove us to their home, about 15 minutes from the ProWorld office, where we got to spend the rest of the afternoon meeting them and getting accustomed to the altitude and culture. After quick, and cold, showers we had some delicious pasta and got to play PlayStation 2 with Michael and Max, two of Antonia’s sons. The game? Futbol, of course!

I (Mark) took Spanish in high school, but was never very good, and my two years of Korean at Princeton has supplanted much of my knowledge. I was frightened going into the day knowing that communication with the primarily Spanish-speaking family was going to be difficult. Luckily, I was happily surprised! Between my broken Spanish, their knowledge of some English words, and some really big hand motions we were able to talk quite a bit.

I (Dallas) took two and a half years of Spanish online in high school and have not used it since. I was also nervous about not knowing very much, but as soon as we started conversing with our host family, I began to get really excited about remembering and re-learning the language. It was incredible to see how, even with our little knowledge of Spanish and their little knowledge of English, we were able to bridge our cultures and share so much with each other.

Now that the IST team has safely arrived and settled into our homestays, we could not be more thrilled with the packed itinerary we have for the week! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure, when we will be working on healthy homes projects and gearing up for our solar projects!

— Dallas Nan ‘16 and Mark Benjamin ‘14

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WHAT IS "BREAKOUT PRINCETON?"

breakoutnycaids:

WHAT IS “BREAKOUT PRINCETON?”

Breakout Princeton is an opportunity to spend a week learning about and trying to affect complex public issues through community immersion, direct service, group discussions, and reflection activities. Trips bring together a diverse group of students to explore an…

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woodrow-wilson-school:

Kyrgyzstan serves a powerful role in the Eurasian drug trade by playing the “mule” that carts heroin and other opiates between Afghanistan and Russia. 
In the first examination of its kind, a researcher at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School writes in the International Journal of Drug Policy that government and crime are more likely to become intertwined when resource-stripped countries such as Kyrgyzstan have little economic activity outside of the drug trade. 

woodrow-wilson-school:

Kyrgyzstan serves a powerful role in the Eurasian drug trade by playing the “mule” that carts heroin and other opiates between Afghanistan and Russia. 

In the first examination of its kind, a researcher at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School writes in the International Journal of Drug Policy that government and crime are more likely to become intertwined when resource-stripped countries such as Kyrgyzstan have little economic activity outside of the drug trade.