Today I would like to share an insight into the ATC Service program. For returning families you would no doubt be aware of the success of the program, having recorded over 17000 hours of service in 2017. For families joining us, we hope that we can build on the enthusiasm and energy we saw and experienced last year. We hope your experiences will provide a rewarding challenge for your son and your family, allowing you to create cherished memories through laughter, compassion and service.
“Were we to know the merit and value of only going from one street to another to serve a neighbour for the love of God, we should prize it more than gold or silver.” Edmund Rice
Last year through our weekly Facebook posts, we shared and celebrated the wonderful contributions our students made within their families and towards our community. We were fortunate to be a part of the Duell family’s journey as they prepared for an exciting trip to Tanzania during the summer break.
Whilst Mr Duell faced the arduous challenge of conquering Mount Kilimanjaro, which he completed successfully, the remainder of the family, along with traveling friends created challenges of their own. Today I can share with you some of their story. It is through such experiences that we are reminded of the generosity of our fellow beings and the value placed on lived experiences – encouraging the young men in our care to be faithful to God and to be empathetic to others by continuing to be self-less to our neighbours.
On behalf of the College community I thank the Duells for sharing their story and with a grateful heart, we continue to be appreciative of the support which we receive from families and we look forward to partnering with others as we challenge our young men through the ATC Service program. Please follow the link below to download our Service Program guide and Service Journal for 2018 which has been designed to help you along the journey. I encourage you to share your son’s Service experiences by emailing a short story and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org I also encourage you to read Patricia’s story below.
Tanzania – An Experience to Remember by Patricia McGirl-Duell
Our stay at St Judes was far greater than we had imagined it could be. Gemma Sisia has created an amazing school in St. Judes, Tanzania which is helping not only the children from impoverished families, but also the wider community of Arusha by employing local staff as teachers, cooks, cleaners, bus drivers etc. The school has such a positive feeling it’s hard to put into words. On our first day, we were taken to visit the family of a new student who had been selected to start year 11 at St Judes as he had performed extremely well at the government school. His name is Lomayani and he is a Masai boy. The Masai are the nomadic people who live in Tanzania and Kenya and their traditional lifestyle is changing due to land privatisation and cultivation bans.
The Masai are being forced to participate in Tanzania’s monetary economy and they tend to live in permanent Boma’s now. Lomayani lived in a Boma – circular group of huts where his father lived in one hut and the 3 wives each had a hut of their own. The cattle are kept within the boundary of the Boma at night. On our way to Lomayani’s Boma, we purchased a live goat from the market and brought it to his family as a gift. We were greeted by dancing ladies and many excited children from the surrounding area. We also brought a soccer ball which we gave to the children. Many of them had never played with a ball before but somehow knew exactly how to kick it! Lomayani had been walking for 2hrs each day to get to the government school. He is now a boarder at St Judes and is educated, fed and clothed by the school.
Our children were very fortunate to be invited to participate in the classrooms at St Judes. They participated in the Swahili lesson which was ‘very interesting’. We joined the school children and teachers for a lunch of beans, rice and pineapple.
On our second day at St Judes we went to the home of an 11 year old girl named Ashmary. Her father has passed away and she lives in a two-room house with her mother, grandmother, brother and uncle. She has no electricity nor running water. We brought gifts of a washing tub, solar light, cooking oil, salt and sugar. Ashmary’s family was so excited to meet us! Despite being very poor, they filled their table with baked yams, bananas, potatoes, peanuts and pineapple for us to enjoy. They served us ginger tea and, through an interpreter, asked the children many questions about their own studies and ambitions. Ashmary wants to be a doctor. Since returning home we have contacted St. Judes to make arrangements to assist in sponsoring Ashmary’s education at the school.