Selkirk students cook up Guatemala fare to raise funds for trip

Third-year nursing students are bringing a taste of Guatemala to Trail tonight with a traditional rice and beans dinner

Third-year nursing students are bringing a taste of Guatemala to Trail tonight with a traditional rice and beans dinner to help raise awareness and funds toward an experience of a lifetime.

Fourteen Selkirk College students are preparing to embark on their greatest practicum, yet – a three-week stint in the Central American country where they will teach community health prevention this spring (April 25-May 18).

Collaborating with partners Association of Women in Solidarity, Mayan People’s Clinic of La Esmeralda, the Cooperative of Nuevo Horizonte and the community of Sipikapa, the students will work in community capacity teaching hand and dental hygiene and sexual health.

“I’m looking forward to working in a totally different environment, learning how to work with little resources and different cultures and learning how to build community capacity,” said student Braedon Mauro, who along with co-pilot Marlee Gaskell is heading the Trail fundraiser, one of many in the region planned to reach their $30,000 mark.

The students have learned some insight of life in the poverty-stricken country in their Global Health Course taught by instructor Mary Ann Morris but look forward to a real eye-opening experience.

“I’m really community based so that’s kind of where I’m leaning toward once I graduate,” said Gaskell. “So being out of the hospital and actually implementing our own kind of programs will be the biggest thing for me.”

The nursing students completed their first practicum in an extended care facility in their first year of studies before working in medical, surgical and acute psychiatry by second year. Third year work experience focuses on the educational aspect of health, with Mauro teaching sexual health at a couple local elementary schools while Gaskell is committed to street-outreach nursing in Nelson and working at Selkirk’s sexual health clinic.

Instructors Mary Ann Morris and Tammie Clarke along with volunteer Michael Chapman will lead the fifth group of students over the past six years to visit Guatemala.

The fundraisers put on by the students are not only an opportunity to bridge the gap between Guatemala and local communities in the region, but also act as team-building exercises before the group heads off overseas to spend countless hours together facilitating programs.

Friday’s meal will tout traditional fare, including rice, beans, salsa, coleslaw, corn bread and dessert. But the event will also feature a silent auction, raffle and slide show presentation.

Ten-dollar tickets can be purchased and delivered in advance by emailing or by calling 364-2076. Tickets can  be picked up at JBS Business Services or at the door.

The dinner will be held at the Riverbelle at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.