Bruins Serve on Annual Tanzania Mission Trip

June 21st, 2024 | News

For the second time in as many years, members of the Padua community travelled to Moshi, Tanzania on a mission trip. For chaperones Erin Kalkbrenner ’02 and Assistant Principal of Young Women Mary Zolkowski, it was their second time on the trip. While there were several goals, the main purpose of the mission trip was to spend time with the children at Msamaria, a home for street children who were either orphaned or abandoned. Padua’s Chaplain Friar Johnpaul Cafiero, OFM stated that it was particularly difficult for him to see how starved for affection these children were.

Padua students spent a large portion of their time on the Msamaria campus, playing games with the children, teaching them dances, doing chores like painting, and often just giving them affection by holding their hands, hugging them, or just sharing a kind word or smile. One of the most enjoyable activities was when they all went to the YMCA pool and served as swim instructors for the children. This was a rare treat for the children and the joy was evident in all of their faces. One of the most meaningful moments was when the children were presented laptops that were refurbished by the MyTrack Computer Science students. Padua students showed the children and older residents of Msamaria how to use the Chromebooks and the various features installed on them. To say the residents of Msamaria were overjoyed to receive the technology is not an exaggeration.

While in Moshi the group also spent time visiting the town’s marketplace. They spent time at Upendo, an orphanage for children birth to five years of age as well as at Karanga, a school near their hostel. They were shown around the campus, quickly realizing the differences between African and American schools. They also delivered much needed supplies to nearby villages.

The group was afforded some time to immerse themselves in the culture and see the wonders of the African continent. Highlights involved going on a real African safari and visiting a waterfall in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. They were given a tour of the Chagga Tribe, involving exploring a cave, visiting a coffee farm where they made their own coffee. They also visited with the Maasai Tribe, who dressed in traditional tribal clothing and demonstrated dances, and students saw first-hand various aspects of tribal life. A seamstress from Moshi even brought in local fabrics and made clothing for some of the missionaries.

When it was time for the trip to come to an end, there were many tear-filled goodbyes as strong bonds were formed with the children. Bruins packed up their belongings and began the long trek back to the United States with the knowledge that their African experiences will have had a profound impacted not only the children of Tanzania, but also themselves.