Elon students take part in summer service trips
The Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement sponsored programs to Malawi and Morocco in recent weeks.
- Information provided by Evan Small in the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement
Two groups of Elon University students and staff took part in alternative break trips to northern and eastern Africa in the days after Commencement this spring. Offered through Elon’s Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, trips to both Morocco and Malawi were designed to broaden students’ horizons through immersion in local culture and service among the people in hopes of improving the livelihood of all involved.
On May 21, six Elon students and two staff advisers embarked on a 10-day excursion through Morocco, a country on the northwest cost of Africa. After starting in Casablanca, the group headed to the Berber Cultural Center in Imi-n-Tanoute, staying for three nights and learning about the Berber culture as well as volunteering at a local school.
The group then explored the sites and sounds of Marrakesh, a city of just over 1 million people known for its rich history. It was there that the group met and stayed with their local host families.
Moving on the next day to Rabat, the students and staff visited sites and learned about a female adolescent soccer league in Sale. Eventually, the group would also explore the Roman ruins at Volibulus, visit the city of Meknes, and learn from the artisans of Fez before returning to Casablanca and the United States.
On May 19, a dozen students and two staff advisers departed for their service trip to the country of Malawi, a landlocked country of about 15 million people located in Southern Africa, bordering Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania.
Malawi ranks 171st out of 187 countries on the UN Human Development Index, 13 spots behind Haiti. Developed from the idea offered by a student leader, this trip is the first time a trip has been offered to Malawi.
The 14-day trip focused on working with a rural village and an organization serving street children in local towns. Students got a firsthand experience of both the drastic barriers and rich culture that Malawians experience on a daily basis.
Students also worked on the shores of Lake Malawi rebuilding a school kitchen for a local school and playing with schoolchildren, fostering meaningful cross-cultural relationships with the other students. This was all in a school where 240 of the 1,200 students were orphans.
Finally, Elon students worked with Chimwemwe Children’s Home in the town of Blantyre. Students painted, worked on constructing a garden where the organization can grow food, and interacted with the children for five days.
Through this experience, students also had the opportunity to see firsthand life on the streets and to visit with an AIDS support group. Finally, the Elon staff and students explored the natural beauty of Malawi by taking in local safari rides, interacting with local vendors, and witnessing the famous eastern-Africa sunsets. They returned to the United States on June 4.
These trips are two of 10 international and domestic trips offered throughout the year to Elon students through the Kernodle Center. For more information on these or other service trips, or for general information on how to serve in local communities, contact Evan Small at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336-278-7250.