Parkland grad serving with Peace Corps in South America
Mario Machado, a 2007 Parkland High School graduate, is serving as an agricultural extension volunteer with the Peace Corps in Paraguay, South America.
Living in the remote rural community of Guido Almada, he is conducting development work in agriculture and on household livelihoods.
Machado is also assisting and teaching chemistry, physics, English and basic information technology education through the local farmers' cooperative, as well as building beehives and starting a community organic garden.
He wants to expand his work going into his second year of service.
Machado graduated from Penn State University with highest honors in 2011, with a major in biological anthropology and a minor in geography.
As a student, Machado was an active member of the PSU Science Diving team, which conducted underwater research in Florida and upstate New York, as well as coral reef conservation work on the island of San Salvador, Bahamas.
He has also traveled to Puerto Rico as part of an independent archeological study on the cultural pre-history of the Antilles Island chain.
In January 2011, he lived and worked in the Eastern Cape of South Africa for three months as part of a study abroad program that analyzed challenges between conservation and development.
With this group, he worked with local communities and schools while also conducting field research and conservation in the Dwessa-Cwebe and Mkhambathi nature reserve.
In May, Machado and his father took his grandfather back to his homeland, Cuba, after 50 years of being away.
Machado has recently co-authored and published a paper with Professor Petra Tshakert, titled "Gender Justice and Rights in Climate Change Adaptation: Opportunities and Pitfalls in the Journal of Ethics and Social Welfare."
He is an active blogger for Rodale Press' Organic Gardening magazine, writing about his experiences with life, gardening and farming in Paraguay.
He also maintains a personal blog at littlehupo. blogspot.com.
Machado is trying to start a book club, and eventually a library, at the schoolhouse in Guido Almada.
The local kids love to read but they don't have the materials.
Machado needs donations of books in Spanish or Guarani for children of any age, especially in first through 12th grade.
To contact him, mail Mario Machado, PCV, Cuerpo de Paz, 162 Chaco Boreal, C/Mal. Lopez, Asuncion 1580, Paraguay, South America