Posts Tagged Tufts Hillel
Swiftly following spring semester’s conclusion, fifteen Tufts students traveled to Haiti through a Tufts Hillel and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) trip. During an eight day trip, students learned about and experienced the lasting effects wrought by the earthquake and hurricane that left Haiti devastated in 2010, as well health and education-related hurdles that have plagued the country’s development.
Detailing their visit on Tufts Hillel to Haiti, you can read about the students’ amazing efforts and experiences. They were not only able to get down and dirty, helping repair a damaged amphitheater built by the past Haitian president, Jean Aristide, but were also afforded the opportunity to teach English and play with local students, as well as meet with village leaders to discuss ways to further community development and citizens’ access to health care.
In between the learning and hard work, the group also got to visit Port-au-Prince, French-inspired art galleries, and take in the breath taking beauty of Haiti’s rural areas. One Tufts’ blogger writes,
“[We] were captivated by the natural beauty of this country, but were also saddened in a way that the lacking infrastructure and actual government support for tourism in Haiti has caused this native resource to be totally under appreciated by the majority of the world.”
Take a look at some pictures from the amazing trip below:
Two years ago, we showed you how students on Tufts Hillel’s service trip to Rwanda learned and grew abroad. This year, Tufts Hillel continues their legacy of helping the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village with a new batch of students eager to repair the world. On their own branch of the Tufts Hillel blog, we find the stories of Hannah, Sam, Paige, Nate, Natasha, Arlen, Jessica, Ariana, Katie, Shane, Laura, and Tayo as they embark on their interfaith service trip:
“We all chose to come to Rwanda for different reasons and had different expectations, but we were all excited to be going. Some wanted to see a new country, while some wanted to see a new continent. Others wanted to experience a new culture. I think all of us wanted to learn about what had happened in 1994, and many also wanted the trip to help guide them to their future career choices.I will never forget the moment we stepped off the plane. I’m (Tayo) from Ghana, and when I go home I’m used to being hit with the hot air and the smell that can only mean that I’m finally in the place I love the most. But here I was, in Rwanda, a place I’d never been to, feeling sensations that were almost the same! I (Laura) was entirely unsure of what to expect as I had never been to Africa before. However, we both felt that after feeling the hot air and seeing the bright lights of Kigali—the endless hours of travel had all been worth it. We went through immigration and, after dealing with some luggage issues, hopped on the bus to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The bus ride was surreal. Although it was night time and everybody was exhausted, we were all so excited to be in the country that we had read and watched so much about.”
Early in June, a group of students from Tufts Hillel packed their bags and headed to Morocco. As part of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the group planned to volunteer and serve while learning about the challenges facing Jewish communities abroad.
Through the JDC: In Service blog, the group has been blogging about their adventures. They’ve recounted days working with students at a local school, dancing with seniors at a home for the elderly, and helping to restore a Jewish cemetery.
While visiting the school, one of the Tufts bloggers writes:
It was especially meaningful to spend time in the computer class because before the trip we fundraised to buy computer operating systems for the school. We sold popcorn to Tufts students and their parents and raised a total of $650. We presented the check to the director of the school, who was very appreciative to both our group and the JDC for the support.
The group has also managed to fit in some site-seeing, complete with a trip to the Jardin Majorelles garden and touring the only Jewish Museum in the Arab world. See some pictures from their travels below and keep up with the Tufts Hillel team in Morocco here.
In a recent post on the Tufts Hillel Repairs the World blog, Annie Lobel (A’11) tells of her junior year abroad in Rwanda and Northern Uganda. With a special interest in genocide awareness, education and prevention, Annie became immersed in Rwandan culture. Living with a host family and connecting with people whose lives were profoundly changed by the 1994 genocide, Lobel’s experience was life-changing on various levels. She writes about taking action in her own community after such an experience:
Let me tell you – returning to Tufts was not easy. It was a bit isolating even. I knew I had changed but my world at home had not changed very much. What I had thought was a “perfect fit” at home no longer fit as perfectly as I remembered. Reverse culture shock returning to the States was way harder than the culture shock when I first left home. When my peers would ask me “how was abroad?” no one sentence answer was ever satisfying to me. There was so much I wanted to communicate to my friends, peers, and family, and the frustration that no one would even begin to understand where I was coming from was frustrating and disheartening. I did realize that the frustration was not productive unless I turned it into something. People were trying to understand, they just needed guidance. Ever since I returned to Tufts I felt this need to take action, to do something about all of this, to educate my peers and help make them want to learn more, and to help other people understand that this should not happen again – we cannot let it happen again.
It was incredible to return to Tufts and eventually find and connect to like-minded students and to put together the Tufts Against Genocide (TAG) Committee with the incredible support of Tufts Hillel and the inspiration of the Cummings Challenge.
You can read more about Tufts Against Genocide and the Cummings Challenge here.