Annie Brown

Profile

I graduated in May from Brown as an independent concentrator in Contemplative Neuroscience, that is, how meditation affects the brain and how neuroscience can learn from contemplative practice. For the next year, I'm embarking on a series of adventures before heading to Mt. Sinai to study medicine. I'm fascinated by how our mental health and physical health interact, and how diet and lifestyle fit into this picture. These interests have led me to the meditation lab at Brown, where we study mental health and meditation in Brown students; to prisoner health work with the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights; and now to Nicaragua, to work on a nutritional health project, and improve my spanish along the way. 

I'll be working with a water and sanitation organization in Nicaragua, Amigos en Christo. For the past 20 years, Amigos has been working to establish clean running water in a number of towns around Chinendega. Now, with the basic water needs met, new health concerns have risen to the surface, naming malnutrition and diet-related disease. To paint in broad strokes, in the past twenty years researchers have seen a shift in rural parts of Latin American countries from undernutrition to poor nutrition, and the rise of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. My project centers around nutritional health. With running water established in Villa Catalina where I'll be working, twenty families have signed up to plant gardens on their family's plot, to provide food for their own and neighboring families. I'll be digging in the dirt and talking with folks about fruits and veggies. 


Stories by this author

  • | July 29th, 2012
    During every rainy season in Nicaragua (which is the summer in the States) comes a period of drought. For anywhere from two weeks to one month, what was once a steamy jungle shrivels into dusty shrubs. Doors close every afternoon to fend off the...
  • | July 19th, 2012
    ¿Por cuanto tiempo estás en Nicaragua? ¿Cuando te vas?  I have heard this question many times, from all people I've met down here. When a woman from the community and I first meet, she always says, how long are you here? When she realizes...
  • | July 11th, 2012
    Two weeks after the first seed plantings, we are seeing the first signs of green, the first signs of growth. The pipian and ayote, both types of squash, are already leafy and fat. The tomato clusters are crowded with pointy green leaves, asking to...
  • | June 28th, 2012
    This has been an exciting week for the project. Monday saw the distribution of all the seeds along with the second training, to go over planting each type of seed. Then we around and visited each woman’s home, checking on her progress and offering...
  • | June 24th, 2012
    Getting the Gardens Ready & Cooking Together  Monday: Training 1 After all that talk about being on time, we were actually late to the first training. PLAN Nicaragua, who is running our trainings, also had their watches set to Nica time,...
  • | June 17th, 2012
    Nica time is a powerful concept. No one is on time for anything, nor expected to be. But our first training is tomorrow morning, at 10 am sharp. With the foreseen difficulties in punctuality, we spent the past few days visiting each woman...
  • | June 13th, 2012
    Today was such a fun day in Villa Catalina. We were in Villa Catalina for a meeting with all of the women who have signed up to do the garden project, trying to get them motivated for the summer to come to all of the trainings and care for their...
  • | June 11th, 2012
    Tomorrow morning we meet with the 20 Nicaraguan families to go over the plan for the family vegetable gardens. So I thought I'd pitch it here first.  So why gardens?  To give yall an idea of the broader contextual situation... Context: the...
  • | June 9th, 2012
    Got off the plane last night at 9 pm to a balmy 95 degree Nicaragua sundown. After a two hour cab drive, I had arrived in Chinandega, two hours east of the Managua, the capital city.  For the next two months I'll be working in Villa Catalina, a...