Major organizes international volunteer trip

Portia Eastman, a Health Studies major, coordinated a trip Capturewith URI the Global Village Program to Retalhuleu, Guatemala this past January as her honors project.


Portia wanted to complete an honors project that would encompass her three passions: health, service, and travel.  As a student, Portia explained that she had not participated in a study abroad or faculty lead trip due to costs or the trips did not align with her interest of public health.


Portia explains that when developing her project “I made sure make suunnamed (1)re my project directly involved the local community, was culturally immersive, physically and mentally challenging, and presented a real-life public health situation. We worked one-on-one with Habitat for Humanity to make sure every day included building, working with the community, and a cultural activity. ”


Portia, seven students, and an adult leader helped implement Healthy Home Kits, which allows Habitat for Humanity to build smokeless stoves, latrines, and water filters for communities in need.  During their time in Gutamela, the URI team help build one house as well as 2 smokeless stoves.

Four Health Studies majors, Francelly Brito, Briana Del Guidice, Sashalee Martinez , amd Gabby Sachs, participated in the trip. Four other URI students, Russell Hart,  Nisa Pennyfeather, and  Rachel Staffier also went. Catlin Fetters from University College at URI was the adult advisor

Portia explained that ” the public health impacts could as soon as we built a new stove that emitted little smoke right next to the old one which produced vast amounts of smoke. Upper respiratory infections and burns are huge issues for children under 5 and women in this region because the time they spend around the stove inhaling the smoke. ”