By Sarah Wright & Risley Dudley – 1851 Staff
Recently, Shoulder-to-Shoulder’s annual Belize trip was replaced with a trip to Tanzania. The new trip will center upon English language instruction for grades one through seven, as well as conducting girl’s self-esteem workshops.
A group of Lasell students have yet to be chosen, but will be led by Reverend Tom Sullivan, Director of the Center for Spiritual Life. The group will leave on May 18, 2016, and is estimated to return on either June 5 or 6.
“We can only sustain so many of these programs,” said Jim Ostrow, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The Tanzania program gives options for students.”
The replacement of the trip to Belize brought mixed emotions for students and professors who had previously traveled to the country.
“I am disappointed that Lasell would cancel such a beneficial and meticulously planned trip,” said Hayley Kreckler, Junior, ”But I understand that they can’t pull funding out of thin air.”
Professor Missy Varao, one of the pro- fessors in charge of the previous Belize trip said, “I loved running the trip, so of course I’m disappointed…but I am happy that another trip is going to go because of it.”
Much of the Tanzanian school systems and businesses use English to communicate. “They have a huge disadvantage by not having a better understanding of the language,” said Sullivan, who added that teaching the African children English is the primary goal of the trip.
Choosing Tanzania while the Uganda trip had just been cancelled due to the country’s homosexuality laws bothered Morgan Nash, Senior Class President, who participated in the Uganda trip in the spring of 2014.
“It’s a little confusing why we can go there [Tanzania], but not to Uganda where we already have established connections with the schools and children,” said Nash.
According to Ostrow, there are anti-homosexual laws in Tanzania and many countries, including Belize, but the Tanzanian law is far less severe than in Uganda.
“We consider it safe… students will undergo orientation where they will learn about respectful behavior in other cultures gener- ally, and in Tanzania specifically” said Ostrow.