The Battlefords Community Mission Club recently took part in a service trip to Kenya, Africa. The team consisting of five local high school students, Emily and Jonah Simon, Jayden Nelson, Rowan Tkatchuk and Lucas Prates, two teachers, Jean Fauchon of John Paul II Collegiate and Andrea Penner of Notre Dame Elementary School, as well as community member Barrett Penner.
The club spent the last two years fundraising for their service trip to Kenya through the Me to We organization.
“It is very humbling to see that the students we bring take such pride in these service trips. These students dedicate hours upon hours fundraising their way to go help others in need,” explains mission club advisor Barrett Penner.
The club members also spend a large portion of their time volunteering within their community.
“I think that working locally is very important for moving forward. As a community, we all need to do our part in helping others, as well as our community as a whole,” states mission member Jayden Nelson.
Members dedicate time to volunteering in their local parishes, working bingos at Caleb Village senior home, working with underprivileged children, donating to the Cancer Society, Jim Pattinson’s Children Hospital, and other organizations.
Members spent many hours travelling, where they finally landed in Nairobi, Kenya. The team was sent out six hours to a rural area of Kenya in the Masai Mara region, where they worked closely with the small community of Nderiat. The foundation of a local school had been completed prior to the mission club arriving, so the team worked hard to complete all the walls. The school Nderiat currently utilizes has a dirt floor, with poor ventilation and lacks durability for weather. Often times, with rainy weather the current classrooms will flood, not allowing students to focus on their education. The team also had the opportunity to spend two afternoons playing and visiting with the local students and their families. “The time we spent with them reminded me why we had chosen to go out to work there in the first place. We had all become part of something much greater than ourselves,” said mission club member Lucas Prates.
Mission team members also had the chance to explore other Me to We initiatives in the Masai Mara such as a hospital, high school and college. The hospital provides children a place for vaccinations and women with a safe place to deliver babies. Members were shocked at the differences held between these institutions and the ones within Canada.
This was the fifth mission trip that the club has been a part of, others being to Costa Rica, Peru, Nicaragua and Ecuador.
“It really brings you back to the reality of how cushy many lives are in Canada, and how little others have around the world. The gratitude these communities show towards us, for something as small as helping to build a school. It brings me hope that our own community can show this same kind of support towards one another in order to thrive and conquer our own problems and issues.”
The Battlefords Community Mission Club looks forward to continuing their service work locally and abroad – individually, as members and as a team. The club hopes they can inspire others to get out in the community and give back.