Karyn Miller

Originally from London, England, Karyn now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina where her varied interests include cooking, running, singing, and writing. She served as the Associate Editor for her school’s newspaper and held a lead role in the school band as a clarinet player. Karyn also volunteered with Helping Horse, a local therapeutic riding program, throughout high school. She has been fortunate enough to travel a lot growing up, giving her an international perspective that she is excited to expand upon in the coming year.

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Two Sides of Death

At the last GCY Brazil monthly meeting, we commenced as we always do: went around and told a high point and a low point of the last month in our homestays. Somewhat overly emotional, I couldn’t keep the tears from falling as I said that…

20 March, 2011

Farinha

I now know the full process of making farinha, and have participated in almost all of it. It all begins with a field, a tractor, a plow, and some manioc seeds. The plantation process  I have not witnessed or been part of yet, but word…

19 March, 2011

Antigamente

On January 15, I think I learned more about Nova Suica in one day than I did over the course of the two months prior. It began when I arrived at the settlement school to greet a group of Brazilian university students who were arriving…

18 March, 2011

Ocupação

I looked out over the fields of Nova Suica, empty but for the occasional bull, the lights of the houses glowing in the distance. The night chill had already set in, but I resisted putting on my jacket for fear that when it got colder,…

17 March, 2011

Azeite de Dende

We were at the health post, handing out bottles to those who were interested in buying. “10 reais for one liter? Really?” “You kidding? Smell it. Flavored, washed with spring water, mashed by hand—and with an American helper? How often does that happen?” This was…

17 March, 2011

Health Agent

I’ve never really had any interest in public health. I didn’t know anything about it—I knew that functional systems were in place in numerous countries but that they ran the risk of providing poor care or not having enough capacity. And so, while I marveled…

10 February, 2011

Contributions

A student from Salvador asked me, while we were conversing about why exactly I’m in Nova Suica, what I bring to the community. At our first monthly meeting, during our Portuguese check-up with Marcelo, he asked us how we think we can contribute to bettering…

04 January, 2011

Raspando Manioca

Hoje, eu raspei manioca. Today, I peeled manioc root. It was a very MST day—perhaps more so than any I’ve had yet. It was laundry day, because it was water day. Translation? We washed clothes and sheets with the water in the storage tank on…

04 January, 2011

Comparisons

It’s been interesting living with the MST this past month or so: regional and state meetings (which were full-on weekend events), occupation of the town hall of Santo Amaro (one of the guys working there and living in an assentamento was not promoting the interests…

25 December, 2010

Adjustments

A few things I’m realizing will be a normal part of my life for the next 5 months: Every rooster in the settlement having a cockadoodldooing competition at all hours of the night Every dog in the settlement simultaneously breaking out in a chorus of…

09 December, 2010

Two Views of the Bay

“I think you’ll find that if there’s one word to describe Brazil, it’s dichotomy,” Tony told us. Last Monday, the Brazil fellows visited a neighborhood in Salvador called Massaranduba, where we saw the last remaining palafitas, or water slums. We wound our way down dirt…

27 October, 2010

Familia Brasileira

Piled in the van on the way from the Salvador airport, I just remember Tony turning to us and saying, “Okay guys, we’re going to spend a night at this house, get showered, get dinner, and cover some logistics. Tomorrow, we’ve got to get up…

11 October, 2010

Discovering Capoeira

“Hoje a noite, nos vamos ver capoeira com Tony.” I told my host mother in choppy, simplistic Portuguese. “Tonight, we go to see capoeira with Tony.” She smiled, “Ah…capoeira, sim!” Yes. If you don’t know what capoeira is, I highly suggest a YouTube search. But…

08 October, 2010

Themes

There are a few key ideas I’ve picked up on over the course of the past two weeks: Open-mindedness This was our advice to ourselves from the beginning of the training, and it was frequently echoed by speakers and staff. It’s a fundamental part of…

04 October, 2010

Above the clouds

Yesterday, I woke up at the idyllic Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) in Petaluma, CA, at 6:30am and set off on my morning jog over the steep hills of the complex in the chilly dawn air, camera in hand. A few ups and downs through…

20 September, 2010

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Karyn Miller