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Students fund-raise with fajitas

Authentic fajitas, albondigas, and enchiladas would probably pique the interest of any international foodie. But two medical students made sure the spice was just right when they cooked up such fare for a fund-raiser in September. DMS second- years Carmen Barnes and Erica Chung organized the benefit— billed as "Noche Latina"—to raise awareness of and funds for a small Guatemalan clinic where they had worked during the summer.

Carmen Barnes, left, and Erica Chung, right—pictured with a friend —spent "uno noche" this fall raising funds for a Guatemalan clinic.

In addition to the food that Barnes and Chung prepared from scratch, the event featured salsa-dancing lessons taught by another second-year student, Amanda Gann. More than 70 community members, fellow students, and faculty crowded into Dartmouth's Tom Dent cabin to eat and dance, and Barnes and Chung raised nearly $800 for the Clinica Cristiana.

"It's important for us to have personal responsibility," Barnes says, reflecting on the event's success and their motivation for organizing it. "Many of these Central and South American clinics depend on the generosity of strangers, and it's important for us to know that we can have an effect on the lives of people who live there. Even two dollars can go a long way."

The funds raised from Noche Latina will most likely be used for medications, maintenance, and employee salaries at the Clinica Cristiana. Barnes and Chung are thrilled to have been able to continue their contributions to the clinic, and they want to sustain a connection to their work there. Their project in Guatemala—one of many overseen by the Dartmouth International Health Group—included establishing a children's nutrition program and a women's health program.

"It was a very positive thing to be able to influence how we would serve the people, and our energy kept us going through the summer," Chung says. "But now," she concludes, "it is important to have more volunteers and funds to keep the clinic going through the year."

-Katrina Mitchell

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