Full Name: Lucy Elizabeth Hanemann
Home Town: New Orleans, LA
College and Major: Vanderbilt University, Majors: Political Science and Spanish, Minor: Sociology
1. What programs do you run?
Library, Women’s Exercise: Zumba, Adult English: Intermediate, and Small Business Development
2. If you had to pick one, which is your favorite and why?
Oh man, that’s hard. I guess I’d go with Adult English because it’s something that I honestly didn’t think that I could do before coming here. I had absolutely no confidence in myself that I could teach an English class, but for some reason I decided to take it on. It really doesn’t make sense why I made that decision…but it’s one of my favorites because of how much it pleasantly surprised me. Turns out, it’s pretty awesome having your own classroom of adults who really want to learn and who appreciate you for what you’re doing (I hope?). I’ve really gotten to know my students, and the classroom has gotten to be a really comfortable place where we learn but we also joke and have fun with each other.
A close second is Small Business Development though because of how much we’ve transformed the program this year to incorporate micro lending. The fact that people can now look to us for financial support in their business endeavors is just so cool to me! Ahh now I’m thinking of a million reasons why I love my other programs. I just don’t want to leave them out! Oh well, moving on…
3. How did you hear about Manna and what made you want to join?
Since Manna was founded at Vanderbilt, where I went to college, it has a huge presence on campus. Sophomore year at Vandy was my first experience with Manna, when I went on a spring break trip to La Ceiba, Honduras. After that, I did two more trips to the same place with Manna because I became so addicted. Then senior year, partially because I had no idea what to do with my life (that’s what studying poli sci, Spanish, and sociology will do for you), I decided to do Manna. I’ve always wanted to do something international for a year after graduation to get a different experience and get better at Spanish, and Manna was the best option available!
4. Is there something from your experience so far that has caught you off guard?
Yes. The amount of KFCs in this country is ridiculous. What a random fast food chain to latch onto! But other than that, there have been a lot of cultural shocks that we’ve had to get used to, like lack of personal space on public transportation. But there have also been some pretty amazing shocks, like the generosity and sense of community that Ecuadorians as a whole have. I’ve been taken aback by how friendly and helpful people here are, and not just our Ecuadorian friends, but also random people on the street who will stop to give you directions when you’re looking just the most lost!
5. If you could change one thing about our house, what would it be?
I’d probably fill in my bug pit. I guess I have to explain that now…Sooo, my bathroom has some sort of tub that’s really oddly shaped and is highly impractical. I don’t know if it has ever functioned, but I’m lead to believe that it never did because there’s also a pretty massive and unfinished part of the bathroom that’s set off from the rest. Maybe it was supposed to be a spa of some sort? I don’t know. But I do know that the walls are all unfinished, there are wires coming out of them, and there’s a door just leaning against the wall. It’s strange. But anyway, this tub thing is pretty much the worst because whenever it rains water leaks into it from the terribly constructed window on the ceiling above. AND roly poly type bugs crawl in from outside, drown in the water, then decompose in my tub. Do you see why it’s called the bug pit now? The result is that about every week I have to clean it out because it starts to smell reallyyyyy bad. P.S. it’s raining right now…
6. What is your favorite meal to cook for dinner?
Ha cooking! It’s not really my forte, but I do really love food! So, I’d have to say something really easy to make but at the same time equally delicious. Being a New Orleans gal, my preference is Zatarans jambalaya, straight from the box (conveniently my mom just donated about 15 boxes to the Manna house). The only extra thing you have to make is some chicken and/or sausage to throw in there!
Additionally, I’d like to give props to my best Manna cooking partner, Joey Teevens. Without him, I’m nothing in the kitchen. I like to believe that our dinners will be remembered throughout all of Manna history. See you on Saturday in the kitchen buddy!
7. What song is on repeat on your iPod at the moment??
Well, right now I’m planning my Zumba class for tomorrow. So, my iTunes is pretty Latino. Per Jenni’s request, I’m learning a new routine to No te veo by Casa de Leones. So I’ve had that on repeat pretty much all day. However, I took a little break just now to listen to Michael Jackson’s PYT. I don’t know why. Just feeling it.
8. What is your most cherished experience so far with our neighbor Cesâr?
I feel like I haven’t had as many funny interactions with Cesar as everyone else has. I don’t think he likes me as much. But I’d say that every time I hear “VECINOSSSS” from across the street, my heart skips a beat.
9. How much do you miss Gandalf? RIP
I’m not really one to disrespect the dead, but I really don’t like cats. That being said, for being a cat, Gandalf was a pretty good one. I’ll always be appreciative of the rat extermination services that he provided. Except when he brought the dead ones into the house, but I only saw that happen once. Overall, I guess I do miss that little booger!
10. What do you think is the best thing you will take away from your experience with Manna?
So much. First, I’ve gotten so much experience living and traveling in a foreign country, which makes you learn so much about the world and makes you so much more self-sufficient. Second, being able to have control over programs and getting this on the ground experience with a non-profit is a really great learning process. I’ve experienced first hand how a non-profit functions and what kind of work is needed to keep it up, running, and impacting a community. Third, and possibly most important, I’ll take away the amazing relationships that I’ve made here. We truly lucked out with such an awesome, fun, and hardworking group of program directors, and I have no idea what I’m going to do come August without having them constantly around me. I guess I’ll reach a point in my life where living in the same house with 8 of your best friends isn’t acceptable anymore, but I just don’t want to.
11. What impact do you hope to leave on Manna?
At the very least, I hope to leave the new Program Directors with some really good training and guidance on how to run our programs so that they can continue to expand year after year. But ultimately I’d like for the kids in the library to learn the difference between Polly and I and start calling me by my actual name. Maybe they’ll affectionately call one of the new PDs Lucy….a girl can dream.
12. What do you think of the calculated move by the United States government to not recognize the newly elected Venezuelan government of Nicholas Maduro? Is it possible that the US-Venezuelan relationship could worsen or is at absolute zero? What should be the US's next step?
The underlying issue here is the uncertainty with the legitimacy of the Venezuelan electoral process. Capriles demanded a recount of the votes, which Maduro agreed to do, but then reneged on this agreement, making the whole situation kind of sketchy. I think the move by the US government to not recognize Maduro and the new Venezuelan government is wise for right now. The US obviously doesn’t want to show its support for a potentially corrupt and illegitimate government, and the evidence right now does not prove that the election was won fairly.
The US is making a stance to fight to defend the vote and the opinions of the people of Venezuela, who are obviously not all happy given the riots that have happened in the country. The president’s absolute control over all institutions in Venezuela has gone on for too long, and it’s about time for this control to lighten up and for other people to be heard. Plus, it must be pretty hard for the US to take seriously a government who has captured a US citizen and thrown him in jail for trying to incite a Venezuelan civil war even though he doesn’t even work for the US government.
This move by Maduro is a pretty desperate attempt to turn his population even further against the US, which if successful could potentially worsen US-Venezuelan relations. But honestly, I don’t think it will and I don’t think things can get much worse. Never say never though because who really knows. I mean, the US hasn’t exactly proven false its imperialistic reputation, even now when they’re refusing to recognize the Venezuelan government, so I think even though the US is making a valid move, this could potentially worsen its relations with Venezuela. We’ll see what happens I guess!
13. Would you rather this interview be in video format?
Definitely not. You know how awkward I am. Multiply that by 10 and that’s what a video interview of me would be like. I’m not going to submit anyone to that level of discomfort.