Weekly Feature

2016-06-16 / Local News

Resident takes part in service-immersion trip

Lindsay Bratek, a resident of Orchard Park and a student at Canisius College, was one of nine students who recently returned from a weeklong service-immersion trip in Guatemala, a release from the college said.

The Canisius College Campus Ministry Department partnered with Augsburg College of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to arrange the trip, which took place from May 23 to 30.

Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience operates Augsburg College campuses in Central America, Mexico and Southern Africa, and works with institutions of higher education and other organizations to design international education programs on a variety of topics and in various locations, the release said.

The group received a history and analysis of Guatemala, which continues to see the devastating effects of a 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. Social and economic inequality issues, especially among the indigenous Mayan communities, are major issues faced by the country, which also has some of the highest illiteracy, infant mortality and malnutrition rates in the region, the release said.

Students visited Colegio Loyola, Fe Y Alegria and San Antonio Palopó schools, and the Bishop Gerardi mural with members of the Human Rights Office of the Guatemalan Archdiocese. They also interacted with children recovering from drug addiction at the Street Youth Movement. Students learned about Mayan culture and philosophy at Iximche, a Mayan archeological site.

Traveling by boat on Lago de Atitlán to San Lucas Tolimán, the group visited the Mesoamerican Permaculture Institute to learn about the environment and sustainable food production methods.

“I went on this trip looking to expand my understanding of politics and culture in Guatemala, but I’ve learned that and so much more,” Bratek said. “I’ve been enlightened of the impact that my everyday decisions such as grocery shopping, scrolling through social media, or throwing out garbage, have on a country thousands of miles away.”

Bratek is a freshman management and political science dual-major.

To learn more about service immersion experiences visit www.canisius.edu/cam pus-life/campus-ministry/service-immer sion.

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