A Trip to Remember

Oct. 16-22, 2003
A Trip to Remember
By Blessed Sacrament staff/ SUN contributing writers
Le Moyne students travel to the Caribbean as part of learning service project

From May 19 to May 30, 2003, 22 freshmen from Le Moyne College traveled to the Commonwealth of Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean, as part of a service learning trip sponsored by the college. The students participated in various service projects in the cities of Portsmouth and Roseau to aid the poor and promote cultural understanding. The trip, the second of what is scheduled to be an annual event, extends Le Moyne’s mission of educating the entire person, said Father Donald Maldari, SJ, assistant professor of religious studies. “We are trying to create the sense that the college experience is holistic,” said Father Maldari. “Learning continues outside of the college residence.”

The Office of Academic Initiative coordinated the trip. All the students who traveled to Dominica are associated with living-learning communities, a college initiative which seeks to integrate academic and extracurricular programs. The following are some of the students’ reflections on the trip: “Amid the mountains of green and the blue sea, a small city named Roseau has shown me a different lifestyle that is welcoming and loving. In my work at the Alpha Center, a school for the mentally and physically disabled children, I have met the most beautiful kids in the world. One thing that has really touched me was how they immediately welcome the other helpers and me. They did not notice the color of our skin or our hair. The children at the Alpha Center saw big smiles and an open heart and loved us immediately. The kids that I met in Dominica, specifically the Alpha Center, showed me that love of people is a simple lesson of life.” –– Shannon Scully “Going to Dominica on our service trip was probably the most invigorating experience I have ever had. For my part, I helped in a sixth grade classroom in St. John’s School. The children had just finished taking a huge test that would determine whether or not they would even be allowed to go to high school. The room still had a map that had the U.S.S.R. on it and they have very few supplies compared to the U.S. But they make do with what they have and still are happy. I think when I came home I definitely knew material things were definitely not worth as much as hey had seemed to be in the past for me.” –– Emily Wilson

“During the week, the Sunday Mass struck me the most. The Mass was an experience that was different from others. It was so lively and full of energy. I felt the sense of community and love from the people. During the Mass, the priest took his time shaking the hands of everyone. Truly at that time I felt God’s presence. Although it was two hours long, time was not a factor. It was the first time in a long time that I didn’t feel obligated to go to Mass. I wanted to be a part of that community with God.” –– Ely Amora “The past week has been an amazing experience for me. We have seen and visited the most spectacular sites I have ever seen. The Emerald Pool, Titou Gorge, Victoria Falls and so much more. But among all of the beautiful scenery and places, we had a great experience with the different organizations within Roseau. We went to the infirmary. A friend and I talked to elderly people there who had so much history to share with us. Operation Youth Quake is an organization which specializes in helping kids who have no temporary home. It gives them an opportunity to excel in life. Without this organization, they wouldn’t even get this chance.” –– Jason Stugart

According to Sister Joan Kerley, FMSJ, director of service learning, two weeks in another culture is a short time, but it is long enough to begin to appreciate the richness of the world’s diversity and to discover the gift of hospitality. “As we experienced the generosity of the Dominican people toward us and we reflected on our daily experiences, it was obvious that the students’ lives had been deeply touched by this trip,” said Sister Joan.

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