By KATIE RICE ’10
The Baobab Home in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, will soon be getting a shipment of new workers. In May, 10 students and two professors will fly over for almost two weeks of service at the orphanage for babies. The mission trip, sponsored by the Hendrix-Lilly Vocations Initiative, is the Lilly Program’s first mission trip to Africa.
A few years ago, Peg Falls-Corbitt, director of the Hendrix-Lilly Program, sent out an e-mail asking faculty to recommend mission trip sites around the world. Anne Goldberg, professor of sociology and a faculty leader of the Tanzania trip, was one of the first to respond. The Baobab Home is run by her friend Terri Place.
The Home cares for abandoned children until age 3, at which time the children are taken in by extended family, adopted, or placed in a quality orphanage for older children. The rationale is that, although infants are often too high-need for elderly relatives or relatives with jobs, a 3-year-old can sometimes be cared for by older siblings and other relatives.
While in Bagamoyo, the students will help with daily chores at the Home, like feeding breakfast to area school children and caring for the babies.
“Working together on common projects with people in other areas of the world lends itself to breaking down barriers,” said JJ Whitney, program coordinator for the Hendrix-Lilly Program. “Ethnic, cultural and socio-economic barriers kind of fall down, because you have this common goal. In the process of working alongside someone, you form deep relationships that give you a better sense of who you are and what you feel to be important in the world.”
A soccer tournament, the Hendrix Cup, will also take place during the visit, as a time of “play and commonality between two different peoples,” Whitney said. Cultural side-trips may include a safari or an excursion to a local beach. Because of the Lilly sponsorship, the student participants will only pay $300 for the experience.