Learn more about what our Summer Student trips look like and read testimonials of several who have been impacted by them.
Given that we’ve just solidified plans for three student vision trips in 2018 (one in June and 2 in July!), we figured that we’d give you a general run-down of what these trips look like.
Each of our vision trips spans 1-2 weeks and integrates cultural exploration with leadership training and hard work at one of our seven project sites in rural Zimbabwe. In the months preceding the trip, our group will meet weekly for interactive classes on sustainable agriculture, the Shona language, and life in Zimbabwe. Once settled in the country, participants will get the chance to labor alongside students and volunteers from the local community for a stage in our three-step process, whether it be planting a garden, fencing the perimeter, or installing a well. In the afternoons, we’ll show students local sights (in the past, we’ve visited IronAge cave paintings, climbed mountains, and gone on a safari) and round off the day with group activities and down time.
Day in the life:
Here’s what a typical day might look like.
8 a.m.-Travel to project site
9 a.m. -1 p.m.-Work at project site
2 p.m.-5 p.m. -Safari & sightseeing
5:30 p.m.- Return home
6 p.m.- Dinner and debrief/lesson
10 p.m.- Lights out
What makes this trip different from other trips?
· A partnership focus: Our Takunda Project groups work hand-in-hand with Zimbabwean organizations and with residents in the communities we assist, and we listen as much as we teach. This way, we can be sure that our projects are enacted in away that works for Zimbabwean school communities and doesn’t just gratify our desire to feel “successful.”
· A relationship ethic: We build in time each day for students to talk one-on-one with Zimbabwean locals and build personal connections that last long after the trip ends.
· A sustainable approach: Students will get to experience firsthand all the steps that go into sustainable nonprofit work. We equip our project sites with tools, better access to natural resources, and a care model that places ownership in the hands of Zimbabweans so that each site can flourish for decades down the road regardless of our physical presence.
· A path to employment: We teach our student participants skills that can translate into future careers in nonprofit work, both within and outside our organization.
The garden project that we were able to support together was a true reflection of your kindness and love for the less privileged in Zimbabwe. The impact was and still is so great. It will go such a long way in feeding our school children. But what’s more, your initiative made the people of Munyawiri come to the realization that we are indeed one people who ultimately need each other, and those connections are even more powerful than a garden ever could be. (Mr. Motsi, Project Site Manager at Munyawiri Primary School)
I wasn’t aware of how personal [humanitarian work] was before this…what I thought before was, maybe you give some money, make gardens, and just do your work and go home, but this has been such an immersive, amazing experience to get to know these people. This project is important because not only do we help [people] get sustainable food, nutritious food, but we talk to them and get to know them, and they help us just as much as we help them, if not more. This trip was amazing for me. I’ve never done anything like this before, traveling so far. I got to bond with so many people…I feel like a better person, like a more mature person, after experiencing so many new things here. (Noah Buckwalter, student)
Coming in as a youth pastor, these trips are always an adventure. To me it’s been a great reminder of what the church can be, in our call to love each other. It shows the value of doing life together rather than just showing up on Sunday mornings for an hour, and I think that this type of experience provides the opportunity for students to experience exactly what it means to be the body of Christ. I love seeing our students get to come in, and then go back to their communities and say, “guys, look at whatGod is doing in the world and look at how He’s inviting us to be a part of it.”That’s something a 16-year old kid is never going to forget. This kind of project is going to raise up a generation of leaders who are informed about what is happening in the world and the need [people have] and the privilege they have as American kids, and the responsibility…Do [the trip], and bring lots of sunscreen. (Simeon Harrar, youth pastor at First Presbyterian Church inLancaster, PA)
If you know a high school student who’d be interested in joining our team for a future trip, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!