March 2023: SIFAT Intern’s Appropriate Technology Learning Curve
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Written by Madison Gnoose, Learn & Serve Intern
Appropriate technology is the most intimidating part of my internship so far. I did not spend much of my life before SIFAT working with my hands or with tools, because someone else was always around to do those sorts of things. Plus, I have always felt more comfortable in academics. Picture someone who majored in wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture. Do you see someone in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uniform tracking bears, running through the forest looking for endangered woodpeckers or wearing waders while wrestling alligators and catching man-eating catfish. Now, erase that image! I was the girl who used artificial intelligence algorithms to better guide coastal conservation and understand waterbird migration and wrote manuals for citizen science water quality monitoring groups. I sat at my computer all day. Halfway through my junior year was the first time I considered learning additional skills and using my ecological knowledge to help real suffering human beings, not only wildlife. It became my dream to help developing communities in agriculture, which meant I needed to learn these skills first.
After graduating college, as I read over SIFAT’s website and prepared to apply for this internship, I remember thinking, “Learning about poverty, global hunger and how I can help? Yes, that’s exactly what I want to do! Leading youth in loving those in need as God loves us all? Amen! Gardening? Amazing! Constructing water filtration systems, fuel efficient wood-burning stoves and other technologies? Well …”