Student Leaders: SPRINT
Learning and Serving in a Global Context
SPRINT is Seattle Pacific University's short-term missions program. This summer we’ll send nearly 70 students to 9 countries across the globe to learn from and serve alongside local community leaders. These students have been meeting together since early 2009, and have spent significant time in pre-trip training to consider the impact of short-term service, ways to approach unfamiliar cultures and the role of American Christians in the global context.
Our hope for SPRINT is to provide opportunities for students to learn first-hand from leaders engaged in addressing significant issues in their communities and to encourage others through their service.
Below are excerpts from teams' update e-mails. To receive more information on SPRINT or to be added to a team's e-mail list, contact Owen Sallee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
India SPRINT Team
We had a very pleasant time at the school this week. There we met the organization's Community Development Officer. He was a very enlightening person, and definitely an activist. We got to see all the different ways he is integrating into the community around the school. He really cares about building relationships with the native people, so that they trust the organization and their desires to help out the community. One of the great ways that he is helping the community is by providing schools to teach trades for the people who live in more rural villages and are subject to a life of little education and seasonal labor jobs to try to make it through the year.
He also shed a lot of light upon the role of women in Indian culture. It has been so ingrained in Indian culture that women are inferior, worthless because they will never be the breadwinner, and expensive because of the dowry that must be paid even in this day and age in order for a girl to be married. It is only expected for a woman to be beaten, oppressed, and spoken to only with harsh words. Many Dalit girls are subject to child labor and sex trafficking. No one wants a new born baby girl, but a Dalit newborn Baby girl seems to have nothing but suffering and oppresion in her future. This is why the Community Development Officer and others like him have begun to realize the importance of female empowerment, and he has begun to offer scholarships to girls to go to school, no matter what their caste or financial status. It is a good incentive for parents to send their daughters to school.
Dominican Republic SPRINT Team
We just got back to Santo Domingo after five days in Barahona. The time in Barahona was very good. We were working primarily on a batey just outside of Barahona called Batey Algodon. We traveled all day Friday, arriving there in the evening. We took a tour of the batey and then had and interview with the pastor at a local church. We went to church in the evening; it was great fun!
Saturday was our longest day. We worked at the batey, putting up a roof for a family, took a tour of another batey, then in the evening we went to a prayer service in Barahona. Sunday we had a day of rest at the beach, then Monday we worked in the batey again. Yesterday we had another day of travel, and an interview with some church members in San Miguel on the way back to Santo Domingo. The interviews are all in Spanish, and usually our friend from the Foundation for Peace helps us translate.
Today we're going to sort some medical supplies and do some odd jobs around the Foundation for Peace house before another interview at three. We're busy down here, and aside from a lot of bug bites, a few sunburns, and a couple upset stomachs, we're all doing great.
Indonesia SPRINT Team
We just got done with our second island homestay. One of the highlights of the islands is the food. The local people love to feed us with enormous amounts of yummy seafood. We also had the opportunity to catch our own seafood. On two seperate nights we each got to go shrimping. Our host showed us how to use her net and we were able to catch our own breakfast and lunch. One of our meals also included a very large bucket of crab that we finished. We now have the reputation of being the best eaters out of all the groups on the ethno tours. Thus far, we have had the opportunity to try many different kinds of foods.
On the last island we went to the community health center. We also helped out with community development by painting a mosque, building a well, and teaching English at a nearby elementary school.
At the elementary school we taught them the itsy bitsy spider song, how to say names and how old they are in English, and how to identify their family members in English. We also told them the story of the tortoise and the hare, and acted it out for them. The kids loved us, and at the farewell party they were asking us when we would be back again.
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