Alternative spring breaks

Lindsay Khouri

While most Quinnipiac students will be spending their spring breaks in fancy hotels in places like the Bahamas, select Quinnipiac students and members of the Albert Schweitzer Institute will be spending their spring break in Leon, Nicaragua.

The first alternative spring break trip to Leon was in March of 2004 and is still going strong. David Ives, Executive Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, and also the leader of delegation for this trip, works closely with junior Social Services major Jaclyn Trojanowski in the planning of the trip. Trojanowski, whose first trip to Leon was in March of 2004, helps hand pick worthy students who demonstrate compassion and dedication to join them on their trip.

“We are currently planning and preparing for the third Quinnipiac delegation to go in March of this year and every year it is expanding greatly,” Trojanowski said.

In order to start the planning of this year’s delegation, Ives, faculty member Cheryl Kerison, Trojanowski, and student Chris Weaver, returned to Nicaragua last November. They spent time with the people of Leon and got to experience a day in the life of those living there.

Last year, the trip to Leon consisted of students building gardens for two rural schools, Goyena and Barzones.

“We did this so students [in Leon] would have an opportunity to eat nutritious foods which would lead them to being able to concentrate better in school,” Trojanowski said.

Part of the delegation also created a tool shed for Barzones because up until that point the school was utilizing classroom space for their gardening tools.” Trojanowski also went on to say, “In the United States, we thrive on the idea of success. In Nicaragua, the main focus is survival.”

This idea of survival as the most important aspect of life to the members of Leon shows the true importance of the students’ efforts while they are there.

“Each trip has been different but has resulted in Quinnipiac students seeing things they never saw before such as the shacks people live in who only earn $1 a day or so,” said Ives.

“This year, the agricultural part of the group will be creating irrigation systems in the gardens so that they can continue to be maintained throughout the varying seasons,” Trojanowski said. ” We are also traveling to a new school in need of help to create both a garden and irrigation system.”

To better protect the members of Leon, Quinnipiac students will also be building barbed-wired fences.

“It is our goal to not only share with them the lifestyle of a third world country yet to show them the great compassion and love that the people of Nicaragua continue to have everyday,” said Trojanowski, who will also be joined by junior Biology major Chris Weaver, senior Sociology/English major Christina Hood, and sophomore Physician Assistant major Phil Roach.

“Our students are compassionate and dedicated to helping make this corner of the world a better place and I am proud to be with them,” Ives said.

The faculty members and students going to Nicaragua are looking for the Quinnipiac Community to help support this cause so that they can help the country as much as possible. They will be collecting donations in the student center Monday February 13th- the 17th. They will also be having a bake sale at the Gospel Choir Concert on 17th.

If anyone has any donations (both money and school supplies) they can contact [email protected]