Participants of the Amigos De Las Américas program learned last weekend what countries they would be assigned for this summer. Earlier this year, they put in preferences to the National Office of their top five country choices. In total, participants have the opportunity to choose from 12 different projects in seven different countries throughout South and Central America.
Country assignment is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and was celebrated appropriately, according to junior Maddie Housh. This will be Housh’s second year participating in the program, after travelling to San Juan, Dominican Republic last summer. At the country assignment meeting Sunday Feb. 27 she learned that this year she will be going to Paraguarí, Paraguay.
“The anticipation before I found out I was going to Paraguay was excruciating,” Housh said. “It was all I could think about for like two months. But I think waiting made getting my country even better because I’d been waiting for that moment for such a long time.”
Assignments were presented to participants in the traditional surprise fashion that involves maps of participants’ countries and a puzzle. After students learned which location they would be travelling to, they received sashes with the name of their countries printed on them.
In April, the National Office will release more information to participants regarding their countries in the form of a guidebook. This will lay out information specific to that region which will include local dialects, typical customs or physical descriptions. Throughout the rest of this year, participants will continue to train until they leave for their trips this June.
“Participants will continue training, focusing more on preparing them for their summer,” Senior Amigos board member Brittanie Whitney said. “Then we’ll host a despedida (or going away) party right before sending everyone off.”
Once participants from around the nation finally arrive in their host countries this summer, they will meet together for a short briefing period where they will discuss the events of their trip. Over these few days, they will complete some final training which will prepare them for emergency situations before finally learning who their partners will be and what their specific community will be.
From the Kansas City chapter, East students will be located in the following countries this summer:
Kirsten Erickson (10) – Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica
Stella Kirkman (11) – San Juan, Dominican Republic
Brena Levy (11) – Chimborazo, Ecuador
Caroline Blubaugh (10) – Chimborazo, Ecuador
Bret Kirkman (12) – Chimborazo, Ecuador
Natalie Roth (11) – Oaxaca, Mexico
Mary Beth Eddy (10) – Oaxaca, Mexico
Margaux Serrano (11) – Madriz, Nicaragua
Katie Faught (10) – Madriz, Nicaragua
Zoë Scofield (11) – Madriz, Nicaragua
Grace Kenney (10) – Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Elyse Chinnock (11) – Matagalpa, Nicaragua
Emily Walter (11) – Azuero, Panama
Kirby Motsinger (10) – Azuero, Panama
Olivia Fischer (11) – Azuero, Panama
Emily Garverick (11) – Coclé, Panama
Katie Crossette (11) – Paraguarí, Paraguay
Will Clough (11) – Paraguarí, Paraguay
Maddie Housh (11) – Paraguarí, Paraguay