In December, Saint Ignatius High School hosted nine students and two teachers from St. Peter Claver School in Dodoma, Tanzania. During their two-week stay, the Tanzanians were immersed in American and Cleveland life, culture and, yes, weather.
Saint Ignatius students who made the mission trip to Africa this past summer, as well as a couple other willing families, hosted the Tanzanian students at their homes. For freshman Garrett Bruce, it was a tremendous learning experience.
"I learned so much about his culture and, to be honest, about ours!" Bruce wrote afterward. "You always hear people say how lucky we are as Americans but I truly understand now. It is sad for Robert [Bruce's host student] to not understand or have had some of the simplest pleasures or freedoms we have. Although we are so far away from Tanzania we are all humans and children of God; even though we may look different we all have the same values."
While they were in Cleveland, the Tanzanians spent a day in school with their Saint Ignatius hosts, as well as a day as guests at Walsh Jesuit High School. They spent a day touring and volunteering at local social service agencies like St. Malachi and St. Herman House of Hospitality. Various faculty and staff also chaperoned trips to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, City Hall, the Maltz Museum, the Crawford Auto Museum, a TESLA dealership, and even a stop by FirstEnergy Stadium. Perhaps one of the most exciting experiences was a trip to Quicken Loans Arena to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers play.
After waiting eagerly to see snow, the group and their Saint Ignatius hosts were able to have a snowball fight on campus once enough had accumulated by the end of their first week in the U.S.
Saint Ignatius History teacher Ms. Nikki Henderson, who made the inaugural mission trip to Tanzania two years ago, said after the guests departed for home, "It has been the greatest Christmas present I have received the last two years -- to share in love, laughter, prayer, and cultural exchange with Madam Jeanette, Mr. Tibu, and the many vivacious and loving students of St. Peter Claver. I'm very thankful that our communities are intertwined by a great love for one another."
God bless our Jesuit brothers and sisters across the globe!