Saturday, June 18, 2016

As Our Journey is Ending...

Hi. this is Meghan Grimes! Over the past days, I have experienced so many new things, including new languages, new food, and many new people. One new experience that holds a special place in my heart is St. Anthony's orphanage. Here I met many amazing little boys and girls, as I will never forget any of them. In particularly, Oscar, a six year old boy, will always be my little buddy. His kind words and actions, as well as his undying spirit, will always be a great reminder to me in my daily life, as to how I should be. At St. Anthony's the children were greatly affected by our presence, just as much as their presence greatly affected my life. Throughout this trip, I have remembered that its about the small things and our presence that truly matters.

Lots of love, Meghan.

Zambia 2016

Hi, it's Rachel! This adventure in Zambia is coming to an end but I know I will forever be changed by the people I've met and the experiences I've had. One experience that I will never forget is when I first went to the bush to visit the outreach clinic. There were 100 or more people waiting there. We saw so many kids there and began playing with them. It was difficult at first because we did not speak Bembe and they did not speak English. However, we were able to communicate and start games of duck-duck goose and jump rope. It was amazing to see the interaction we were able to have between two totally different cultures, yet we completely understood each other and were able to learn from one another.

-See you soon, Rachel
Greetings everyone!

We are all having an amazing experience in Ndola. I am so grateful that I was able to go the trip and Zambia will always be in my heart. I went to St. Anthony Children's Village today. In the village, I went to the disability home and each child there had touched my heart greatly. There was an incredible child named Michael. Michael is amazing and smart. He would introduce me to everyone, remembering each person's name; he also knew English and Zambia's native language, called Bembe, which is very impressive. I can't even explain fully the wonderful experience I have had here and could not express my gratitude enough to the wonderful Sisters and everyone who had helped for all their inspirational hard work.

Jinny Buonfiglio

My cup of water

Hi, family and friends!

This trip has been incredible and there is still so much more to look forward to! This morning at our daily reflection led by Sr. Christine, she gave the team a chance to look back on our days here in Ndola. Sr. Christine asked us to choose what "cup of water" we want to keep with us as a significant memory from this mission trip. The "cup of water" was a metaphor for an experience, out of our many, that has impacted and stuck with us the most. My "cup of water"was to not take simple things for granted. For example, a doctor/dentist appointment or having a washer and dryer to clean our clothes. I can't say that I will never complain but if I do I will stop and look back on my trip here and everything I saw and experienced. This place and these people have left me with a new and improved perspective on life, which I know will stay with me and the team forever.

See you soon,
Olivia Koalska

Last Days

Hi! This is Flannery Brown! We are having a amazing time in Ndola.  Each morning we go to a spiritual reflection with Sister Christine.  The reflections are a great way to start our morning to be able to focus our day on what is important.  My favorite reflection was about the starfish and the boy which focused on the importance of quality over quantity.  It taught us that it is more important to truly have an impact on one persons life over a less significant impact on many people.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

An Amazing Experience

Hi! This is Brigid Skeffington, and I am excited to share a little bit about my experience in Zambia so far with you. This was my first time travelling to Zambia and I was not really sure what to expect. I soon learned that although many things are very different here, some things are also still the same. One of the similar things that has really struck me is the friendliness of all the people. Wherever we go, all the people around instantly wave and greet us with a "How are you?" and a big smile. These smiles and greetings have made me feel really welcome here, and they have been a constant day-brightener. This welcoming attitude was also embodied by the students at the Fatima school when we recently spent a day shadowing. The multitude of questions could become a little overwhelming, but I was happy to share all about my life with them and learn all about theirs. I also saw many smiles on the faces of the children at the orphanage and in the surrounding villages. One of my favorite experiences here so far, has been brightening these children's smiles by giving them soccer balls. I have really enjoyed giving them something that brings so much joy to my life and then seeing that joy reflected in them. Zambia is an absolutely wonderful country, and I am looking forward immensely to the rest of my time here.

Returning to this wonderful place

Hello all, this is Andrea Feltz! Returning to Zambia again this year has been a very interesting experience that I have loved dearly. Coming back to this wonderful place and seeing all of the sisters and people of Ndola that I had the chance to get to know last year has been such a blessing. I feel so lucky to have been able to return to Ndola and spend more of my time with such welcoming and happy people. Everyday here has been such an amazing one, it is so hard for me to sum up my experience and thoughts into a paragraph blog post. All in all, I have had an eye opening experience that has made me think about my life back at home and the concept of life in general. During my first visit to Zambia, seeing the simplicity of these peoples lives was hard for me to actually understand and comprehend. While talking to them and seeing their village, I never was able to grasp the fact that this is their everyday life, not something that they just do once and awhile. I constantly highlighted in my head everything they were missing: toilets, running water, showers, kitchens, beds, the list goes on and on. It is so easy to focus on all of the things they don't have, but upon returning and re-seeing these things, I reacted slightly different. I haven't found myself crying or being overly upset about the situations I have witnessed. At first, I was confused about my lack of emotion, but after a few days things became clearer. Returning to Ndola has made me realize the little things that I can do to make those little differences in the lives of those around me. I have enjoyed my time in Zambia dearly, and I think the rest of the team can say the same.

June 15th, 2016

Hello all! This is Lea Groebe. I had the amazing opportunity to go on the trip last year and it feels great to be back in Zambia again. The trip has been fantastic so far and the team has been keeping very busy! A lot has happened in the last week, so I will not be able to cover everything, but I will talk about the highlights of my trip thus far. Last year, one of my favorite experiences was going to St. Anthony's Orphanage. I was extremely eager to go back this year and see some of the kids I had bonded with last year. When we pulled up for the first time, the kids all ran to us with so much excitement as usual. Some of the kids I was especially excited to see were Michael and Gunda. They are two children from the disabled house and I was so happy to see that they were doing well. It is always sad to see the situation they are living in, but they are always so happy to play with us. It was so amazing to be able to see how much some of the kids have grown and how they have developed over the course of one year. The orphanage as a whole was great, but I was heartbroken to see a little boy named Emmanuel there. Last year, I spent a lot of time with him and learned that he was only a few weeks away from getting adopted by a woman from Zambia. When I got to the orphanage this year, I was extremely shocked to see him. I barely even recognized him. It never even crossed my mind that he could still be there. It was nice to see him again because I did bond with him, but it was very heartbreaking at the same time because I was excited to see somebody from St. Anthony's get adopted. Another highlight of the trip for me was painting at the clinic. At the clinic, there are rooms where children are sometimes kept overnight because they are sick. The rooms are very dark and boring. We decided to paint the rooms and lighten them up a bit. We painted the alphabet with matching pictures for each letter and we also drew flowers and numbers. Although this was not direct contact with people, I especially loved this because I could think about what good it would do for the children there. It would make their stay at the hospital a little bit more enjoyable. It felt really good to be able to leave my mark on the clinic and knowing just how important that will be to many kids made it so worth it. Overall the trip has been great. I have had some experiences very similar, but also very different to my last trip to Zambia. I have loved seeing new things and spending time with new people! I look forward to what's to come! Much love from Team Mutomo!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hello from Faitma School- Ndola, Zambia June 12, 2016

Hello everyone! This is Erin Mikolajczak, and for a little background, I am going to be a senior at Visitation and I went on the trip last year. This year, although I have already gone to the same locations, I have had many new experiences. St. Anthony’s orphanage has been my favorite place on this mission trip and I was very excited to return. Last year, I connected with three little girls: Myunda, Rose, and Mabel. Before arriving to St. Anthony’s this year, I told my dad that I did not want to see these three girls because I had hoped that they would have been adopted. To my surprise, those were the first three kids I saw when I descended the bus at the orphanage. It was a very emotional experience to me because of course I was excited to see “my” three girls, but it was even more heartbreaking to me. I had told my family about these three little girls who had touched my heart and when introducing them to my dad, I started tearing up because after one whole year, I was still with them. I still love them and enjoy playing with all the children. All the kids at St. Anthony were very excited to see us and play, and Team Mutomo was just as eager. The children knew the names of the returning members, and were so happy to learn about the others. Team Mutomo is doing well and accomplishing so much already. We look forward to incoming opportunities and can’t wait for the rest of the trip! Best Wishes, Erin Mikolajczak and Team Mutomo Hey guys! After our first four days spent here at Fatima School, our hearts have already been touched by wonderful people, atmosphere, and community of the Zambian culture. On our second day here, we were given the opportunity to experience the Zambian Compound next to the Fatima School. This community consisted of 4,000 (give or take) adults and children living in poverty. These families live in huts made out of available natural resources, like mud and sticks. Upon entering the compound, our group was greeted by several timid and curious faces. For many, we were the first white people or “muzungus” that these people have ever seen. After communicating from a distance, the children soon warmed up to us and soon they were holding our hands and following us around. Despite the residents’ current living conditions, they exuded complete joy, teaching us that happiness can be found with so little. Sending our love and happiness back home, Laura Sorenson, Molly Farrell, Ann Marie Zeimetz and the Team Hey guys, I am going to share a small, yet heart-warming discovery I made this year. As many already know, this is my third visit and I continue to find miracles all around me. Saint Anthony’s is an orphanage that we visit every time we are here. It is one of my favorite parts of the mission trip because I get to fall in love with kids all over again. Saint Anthony’s is truly an eye opening experience because you see firsthand the attention that the children desperately need. Right when the bus arrives, the children race to greet us with open arms and hearts. The past two years I have been to Saint Anthony’s I have become very close with a little boy named Steven. With all of the other kids that I grew close to, Steven was always my closest buddy. He was abandoned when he was a baby and appeared to be disabled and in a wheelchair the last I saw him. Upon arriving this year, as I looked through the bus window, I saw Steven walking towards the bus. My heart immediately melted and my eyes filled with tears. Julia Goldman and Team Mutomo

Monday, June 6, 2016

2016 Team Mutomo Departing Today

Best wishes to the 2016 Team Mutomo group, which will begin its journey today.  Tonight, the students and chaperons will leave Minneapolis for NY, where they will spend the night before departing for Lusaka, the capital of Zambia (located in southern Africa).  From there, the group will head via bus to Ndola, roughly 480 km from Lusaka, where they will stay with and work alongside the Dominican Sisters there.  Although internet access is inconsistent in Ndola, the students and chaperons will blog as often as they can.  Check back here for updates!