Spanish Major Delaney Swink learns about Mapuche culture in Chile
Last semester Spanish Major Delaney Swink lived in Chile, studying for the first half of this academic year at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso. In Valparaiso she was able to get involved in the community, volunteering with an organization called Hogar de Cristo, distributing hot and ready meals to the homeless around the city, directly to the places they sleep on the streets, creating opportunity to speak with people and gain perspective.
At the end of the semester Swink traveled to the south of Chile to work with an NGO called Maple Microdevelopment (founded by UO alumni) to learn about their micro-lending organization. In just one week, Swink was able to participate in the day-to-day lives of three Mapuche (indigenous people from Chile) families, scraping the surface of understanding some of the issues they face, and observing firsthand how Maple is becoming an integral factor in helping Mapuche families revive their culture and develop their community in ways that fit their community goals. Maple was an inspiration to Swink, who says that it was
“a model for how I would want to run my own nonprofit if provided the opportunity; respect for the needs of the community above all.”
Read more about Swink’s experience in Chile: