Brotherhood of Hope brings BU students to Tanzania
It took 30 hours and 14 days to make Samantha Smith realize that time isn’t always of the essence.
The COM junior was one of six Boston University students who took the 30-hour flight to Tanzania last month with the Catholic campus ministry Brotherhood of Hope, and the trip, she says, was a learning experience in many ways. It exposed her to a new language and culture, and the group’s volunteer work taught her about different forms of charity. But it was the people she met who really changed her outlook.
“We made friends with a lot of the kids at a trade school who were the same age as us, and on our last day, when we were packing, they just sat on our porch for two hours because they wanted to say good-bye to us,” says Smith (COM’08). “They don’t feel that they need to be doing something at all times, as long as there’s love for another person involved in what they are doing. It was really interesting, coming from our culture and society.”
The Brotherhood of Hope, which runs a campus ministry at BU, has organized student trips to Tanzania for eight years. The participants, who apply for the program each fall, traveled around the country from May 25 to June 10, visiting and volunteering at various mission organizations. “We wanted places that our students would be safe, but also give them a good experience of the culture, the beautiful family life, and the very alive Church,” says Brother Patrick Reilly, who accompanied students on the trip. “This also allows students to see the devastation due to the real challenges that face Africa and Tanzania, in particular poverty and the AIDS epidemic.”
The students started each day with Mass at 7 a.m. and then spent the rest of the day on site visits. Their projects included helping with local construction, giving language and culture lessons at a trade school, visiting a home for orphans, the elderly, and children with disabilities, and volunteering at the Village of Hope, a home for HIV-positive children.
“It challenged me to do a lot of things that I never would have gotten to do on my own,” Smith says. “I don’t know if I ever would have woken up and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to go play with HIV orphans today.’”
“I absolutely will go back,” she adds. “I know I will.”