La Salle University Service Trip – Project Mapendo
Mapendo means love. Katie Leary, 20, a junior traveled to Tanzania on a university service trip with Maryknoll. There were 15 students and faculty in this group.
The Tanzanian people impressed me deeply. Each person has a passion for life. The sense of joyous vitality and gratitude for merely the day before them has been a blessing to experience and has left me with much to learn. I fail to find the words to explain it—beyond eye-opening or heart-wrenching or life-changing. The experience challenged me to be the person I aspire to be—not only on a global level, but on a personal level. The greatest challenge will be whether I am strong enough to keep my Tanzanian experience with me, so I can return to it and fathom its impact.
Before coming to Africa, I had a very “American” view of what Africa would be like. However, our trip to Tanzania enabled us to learn many aspects of people’s lives that tourists never experience. During the three weeks, my expectations were more than met; they were intensified beyond words. In the 15-plus countries that I have traveled to over the past six years, I have never been met with such warm, open, honest people. Their daily struggle for survival appears overwhelming at first, but after spending some time with them, you look past the struggle and see faith-filled hearts and minds that are among the strongest I have ever encountered.