Max Edele ’12
The trip of a lifetime:
Earlier this year, my Aunt Marilyn invited me to accompany her on a medical mission to Belize. My Aunt had helped put together a non-profit group at the Lake of the Ozarks called Medical Missions for Christ. When she told me that there were two dentists going and that they love teaching, I knew this was an opportunity I wanted to be a part of. Not only would I be able to get hands on experience in dentistry, but I would also be helping to better the lives of people in need.
The trip to Belize was so much more than I had expected. It was a rewarding, exhausting, and emotional experience. Our little group of doctors and nurses would load up our bus every morning at 6am and depart from Orange Walk, Belize and travel to small villages in Belize that had not seen medical care in a very long time.
We worked 12 hour days stopping half way to eat lunches that the locals had prepared for us... beans, rice, and chicken…the traditional Belizean dish. The lines of patients waiting to receive care were so long, especially at the dental clinic. Our dental chair consisted of 2 deck chairs stacked on top of each other. The nearly endless line of people gathered near our little spot to watch as Dr. King and Dr. Clarence extracted tooth after tooth after tooth.
My three favorite highlights from the trip:
The first would be spending a week with my Aunt and really strengthening our relationship. My second trip highlight was meeting one of the best people I have ever met in my life, named George Armstrong. Despite suffering from numerous developmental deformities, but he has the best outlook on life and is the most high-spirited, optimistic person I have met in a long time. My third highlight would have to be all the experiences that I gained in the professional dentistry field. I extracted numerous teeth as well as learned to perform sutures!
Building Homes – Bettering Lives
Westminster College Habitat for Humanity Chapter
Westminster’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity traveled to Cookeville, TN during Spring Break for the Collegiate Challenge. We worked with the Putnam County Habitat Chapter helping to construct their 57th Habitat Home in the county. Tennessee is the 5th most productive state in terms of Habitat houses constructed internationally (living up to their title of the volunteer state), and the Putnam County chapter also works to create quality housing by making their homes EarthCraft homes, which is a form of energy efficient, environmentally sustainable housing.
During our stay in Tennessee, we worked for four days alongside a group of students from Providence College in Providence Rhode Island to complete the exterior siding and put up insulation on the house. When we had finished the job at the end of our four days, we had the honor to attend the dedication of the home on Thursday night where family, members of the community, and Habitat workers all gathered to welcome the owner to her new home.
Aside from the wonderful service experience that we gained, our group was also had a blast exploring some of the natural and cultural wonders of western Tennessee. We hiked out to Burgess Falls, jammed to some blues music on Beale Street, explored downtown Nashville and saw the Parthenon.
Eye Opening Experience
It’s easy to lose sight of the real needs of the world while immersed in the bubble of college life. By working alongside the community servants of Cookeville, we fulfilled a real and tangible need for someone. Working on the home reinforced the importance of self-sacrificial service in our daily lives. For these needs are always present and we have a duty to lend a helping hand.
The Gift of Education
Sahadev Rai '14
I attended a Pestalozzi Conference & Reunion in New York City for 2 days during Spring Break. Pestalozzi is a non-profit charitable organization that provides educational opportunities for students who are economically challenged. This reunion focused on what it means to reach for the stars and then give back to children who needs help & educational support in different areas such as tutoring and applying to college.
At the conference, I met two students from the University of Pennsylvania who created an idea of supporting one child from India to continue her education in an Asian Village in India with the sponsorship of Pestalozzi. I am excited to bring this plan back to Westminster and create a charitable organization to support a child’s education in Nepal. I have already starting the planning!
Westminster believes in learning inside and outside the classroom, and that is exactly what I was able to do through my trip to New York City.
Any funny impressions from the trip?
I was surprised to not see any McDonald’s and Starbucks in Hudson City. I felt as if I was outside the USA where people live organically and are able to maintain all the historically rich buildings, churches and places in the bank of Hudson River. I felt like I was having an abroad experience within the USA.