Leaving behind the cozy confines of Elizabethtown’s serene campus, alumni and students, along with faculty and staff members, have traversed the globe, departing with a will to serve and returning with lives forever changed by their experiences. Travel with us and experience, through snapshots, the rare places these world travelers have explored along the way.
Admissions counselor Sarah Deysher ’09, with her parents Stephen ‘76 and Karen Deysher, visited Tanzania, Africa, to teach sustainable agriculture techniques to residents. Additionally, the Deyshers assessed critical needs of the hospital, school and orphanage with the intention of raising funds back in the United States, in support of the local Tanzanian community of Bulongwa.
Kit Mellott ’11 spent five months in the village of Boma Ng’ombe, Tanzania, Africa, supporting efforts of the Kao La Amani/Tir Na nOg orphanage and school to become self-sustaining. She has since started the K.I.T. project (which stands for Kao La Amani In Tanzania) to raise money toward that goal. Learn more or donate to Kit’s cause.
Jordan Ridge ’11 manages a business in the North West Province of Potchefstroom, South Africa, Made by Mosaic, which employs 20 local woman who create and produce handcrafted items. The proceeds support Mosaic Community Development, which trains women in basic life skills and underwrites a sustainable orphan adoption model. Visit www.mosaicsa.org for information and to purchase products.
Maria Dziecichowicz ’12 completed her initial training and was sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer in May 2012, in preparation for a two-year commitment with Catholic Aids Action group, serving in Karasburg, Namibia, in Africa. As a health extension service worker, Dziecichowicz provides support for the Zero Infections and Zero Transmissions of Aids program among youth and directs an after-school program for children in Karasburg.
Aleah Miller ’13 traveled abroad for a semester in 2012, visiting Ghana, West Africa, to experience firsthand the challenges of sustainable development. While in Tamale, Ghana, Miller learned to carry water as the locals do: in a bucket balanced on her head. Just as important, she trained residents to use water filters, providing some children with their first taste of clean water. She visited Tafi Atome, Ghana, where a sustainable tourist attraction focuses on the conservation of mona monkeys, and in Kakum National Park, Cape Coast, walked on a canopy rope bridge suspended from the tops of trees, designed to teach forest preservation.
Donté M. McCrary-McClain ’13 spent a semester abroad in 2012, working, teaching and exploring in Ecuador. Through the BCA program, he participated in service projects to help residents in the upper Amazon as well as in the southern metropolitan district of Quito. While in Ecuador, McCrary-McClain taught English to a local resident; served as an intern, promoting responsible tourism in the Galapagos Islands and Machu Pichu; assisted in the development of a microfinance operation and supported marketing efforts for an organization expanding the concept of social responsibility. He even managed to fit in a week of backpacking through central Colombia.
For more than 20 years, Elizabethtown College has exchanged volunteers with Pennsylvania’s sister state of Bahia, Brazil, through the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Partners of the Americas. Supporting service projects across many disciplines, E-town also offers a scholarship program for students from Bahia state. Recent projects included an exchange of teachers through the U.S. State Department’s Teachers-in-Residence program, during which several English-as-a-first-language teachers from Bahia visited Elizabethtown College. In exchange, Jesse Waters, visiting assistant professor of English and director of Bowers Writers House, visited Bahia to teach writing techniques. Adjunct Instructor of Percussion James Armstrong taught African percussion techniques and staged performances in Bahia with local students. Soon, Associate Professor of Music Matt Fritz will travel with the College’s concert choir and jazz band to perform in Salvador, Bahia’s capital city. Professor of International Studies Professor Emeritus Wayne Selcher has served as a coordinator and translator with the program since its inception.
Karen Hodges ’04, coordinator for campus events and scheduling, and advisor for the student group “Faith in Action,” has traveled to South Sudan, Nepal, Burma, Ecuador, Honduras and Costa Rica on learning tours and service trips. She returns to Burma in January 2013. Karen calls her experiences and interaction with people and cultures much different than her own, a “privilege.” Whether building a structure, planting a garden or playing with children, spending time with global neighbors made Hodges realize that while they might be poorer in material goods, they often are richer in wisdom. She said her trips enlightened her to values and issues that she previously ignored and brought to the surface parts of herself that might otherwise grow “rusty.” Hodges’ international travel taught her that, while she can’t always change the situation, she can change herself, live in a way that is true to an experience and be deliberate in making daily life choices.
Kristin Peachey ’14 already has made two trips to Haiti and returns in January 2013. She never imagined it would be possible to fall in love with a country viewed as impoverished and hopeless; however, after experiencing its natural beauty and the needs of its people, she is head over heels in love with Haiti. As a mission team member, Peachey has served through sharing her beliefs; distributing food; clothing and toys; building houses and playing with children desperate for attention. Despite language barriers, instant bonds are formed by painting children’s fingernails, playing Frisbee and jumping rope. She says holding children in her arms made the mosquito bites, cold showers and meatless dinners worth it.