Victoria McNamara '14 tells us about the April 2012 meeting of the student Marianist LIFE Community. The MLC invited Gross Catholic alumni Susie Jankowski McGuire '92 to share her experiences in Madagascar working through her Conservation Fusion organization. You can read more about Susie's organization here.
Last night at the LIFE meeting, I was so inspired! Susie Jankowski McGuire '92 was our guest speaker about her work in Madagascar and how horrible life is in some parts of the country. She talked to us how people there don’t have adequate drinking water or have food for what we would call a normal eating day. The younger kids are not educated well, if at all. Susie is traveling over there with her Conservation Fusion organization to help build up schools and teach the natives how to farm and grow things so that life there will be better for everyone and everything, including the animals.
One of the interesting things that Susie told us about was how many different types of animals there are in Madagascar. To my surprise, there are more than 800 different types of frogs just in a very small region on the island. I was amazed at how many different species of animals live there and how many of them rely on the remaining forests there. When some natives farm, they burn down the forests so they plant rice fields, which caused many resources for the animals to be destroyed. Susie said that it is hard for the animals to find food and they eat the same things each and every day because there is nothing else to eat.
My favorite part of the presentation was when she began to talk about her work with the children of Madagascar. I love kids and plan to study teaching in college, but she showed us things that she has done that blew my mind. She showed us how she has educated the kids on animal life and how to even take care of themselves. Some of the kids did not even know how to wash their hands, which to me was mind boggling because I have been taught for as long as I can remember.
The very best part of Susie's presentation was when we got to help her with her next project. She was making little costumes for all of the kids over there. They were turtle costumes modeled after a native turtle that is going extinct. We helped her make them to raise awareness to help save the turtles. My friends and I tried on a few, and we just loved them. I really hope she will send us back some pictures so we can see how much the kids enjoyed them.