PWOB’s first ever trip to Zambia was inspired by the work
being done there by Fr. Bert Otten, SJ, who is never at a shortage of worthy
projects. Professionals Without Borders worked with Fr. Otten and several other
organizations to establish a network of priests and administrators in Zambia to
carry out Seattle University mission-related projects.
Four staff members and three students traveled to Lusaka,
Zambia to begin the primary project of the trip, the renovation of restrooms,
showers, and waterworks at the Munali School Special Unit for the Deaf and
Blind. The group also assisted the Engineers without Borders group of students
in Chirundu, on the Zimbabwe border. Steve Szablya led a project to build a
human-powered electrical generator at this location, and the rest of the team
helped to construct a waterwheel that is now used for lifting water off the
banks of the Zambezi River for washing and bathing.
In 2010, the PWOB team devised an open-source wind turbine
design that could be easily built and operated on location in a developing
country using solely components, materials, and tools found locally. The wind
turbine would be used to bring electricity to users that are disconnected from
the power grid.
After a combination of lucky breaks and clever improvised
engineering, one hurdle after another was cleared. After six days of intense
woodworking, measuring wind speeds, and putting together the generator parts,
the wind turbine was complete. The eight-foot diameter wind turbine was
spinning proudly in a strong African breeze atop an 18-foot borehole pipe
located on an earthen dam.
PWOB’s third trip to Zambia included 12 members who worked
on two main projects during their two weeks in and around Chikuni. Working with
the Jesuits at the Mukanzubo Cultural Center, the team spent the first half of
their trip building a storage unit for Mukanzubo’s artifacts and the second
half building a medical clinic in Chipembele. These new projects allowed the
group to work side by side with Zambians learning new skills and having
The Seattle U PWOB volunteers were on the ground for two
full weeks on our third service trip to Zambia; half of them left for Zambia in
mid-June and returned at the end of the month, the same day the second group
left, resulting in one month of total work in Zambia from PWOB volunteers.
Joyce Allen led the first group of students to install shelving in the
Mukanzubo Cultural Center; they also documented and stored the center’s
collection in order to preserve the heritage of the Tonga people.
Steve Szablya and his team recomissioned two large water
towers in Chikuni to provide water to the local hospital. This will allow the
hospital to open their new natal clinic and surgical theater. Steve and his
team also continued to work on the brick wall in the Chipembele community that
the first group started constructing, as well as removing the cross connect
between the reservoir and the well at Mukanzubo.
This year will mark our fifth trip to Zambia, and PWOB
couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this anniversary. We have built amazing
connections with communities in Zambia, and hope to continue to build a better
future there and everywhere PWOB has service trips for years to come.
Dec 14, 2012
Liberty Children’s Home continues to face financial challenges, which have been compounded recently by a series of burglaries. It has created additional expenses for the charity foundation to replace the stolen items as well as to implement and maintain new security measures. Fortunately, they received assistance from the Seattle based organization, Professionals without Borders, which has installed alarm systems on three buildings. But there’s still a great need for funding at the children’s home. The director, Delfina Mitchell told News Five today that they are having a major fundraiser at the Bird’s Isle on Sunday and hope to raise thirty thousand dollars.
Delfina Mitchell, Director, Liberty Children’s Home
“We have a fundraiser which we are marketing as a family fun fest. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a Bird’s Isle and we’re gonna have lots of rides, games, food drinks, lots of activities and we’re going to end the day with a concert by some local artists. Why we’re doing this is to raise money so we can continue our work. You know recently we had a series of break-ins which meant that we had to institute additional security measures to make our campus safe. Because of those additional measures, we’ve had to put up additional lighting, security and all that. It’s going to cost us more money every month in utility bills, paying for security and all that and we are strapped for money as it is so we have to do something to increase the money so we can take care of the additional expenses that these thefts have incurred. The fundraiser, anybody that comes out will have a great time. We have lots of neat games, lots of great prizes that have been donated to us. I think it’s going to be a fair like no other because of the things that we have as giveaways, the prizes that we’ve gotten. The fair is going to be from ten a.m. to eight p.m. there is free entrance from ten to twelve, no charge. After twelve o’clock we’re charging five dollars for adults and two dollars for children. Santa Clause is going to be there from twelve to three-thirty with a gift for every child so bring your child out to meet Santa Clause and get a gift. I also want to say, take this time to not cook Sunday dinner because we’ll have turkey dinner, barbecue, stew chicken and rice, lots of pastries so come on out and have a good time. Start the Christmas season. Listen to the Christmas season and come out and support our children.”
Cal Ihler, Professionals without Borders
“We came to Belize looking for a place to do service work and came to Liberty and just were so struck by how the children were taken care of so well and the needs that they have. So for this particular trip, we heard that they were being broken into and computers were being stolen, clothes were bing stolen and it was not only affecting the staff, but the children too. And so we started doing fundraising to find some generous donors. They donated all the alarm equipment to us so we came down and installed alarms in their office, library and learning center. And so we’re pretty happy and grateful to be able to come down and help out.”
Professionals without Borders previously installed a water irrigation system at Liberty Children’s home and have plans to return in March of 2013 with ten students from the Seattle University to do further improvements on the water system and replace the gutters on the learning center.
Click here for the original article on Channel 5 Belize's website.
Belize for Spring Break with Seattle University Women's Soccer
Courtesy of www.goseattleu.com (Official Athletic Release)
Release: Wednesday 04/03/2013
Seattle University women’s soccer head coach Julie Woodward alongside two of her student-athletes,Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Renae Russell (Lake Forest, Calif.), traveled to Belize over Spring Break for a service trip sponsored by Seattle U’s Professionals Without Borders (PWOB). Furthering Seattle U’s mission of educating the whole person, the group helped those in need at Liberty Children’s Home, an orphanage currently housing 28 children who were abandoned, abused, or afflicted with HIV from the ages of four to 14 years old.
This was the third year in a row that PWOB journeyed to work with Liberty Children’s Home, building upon and repairing water filtration systems they had previously built during past trips. The filtration systems have allowed residents to repurpose laundry water for use in the garden and to clean pig pens, which helps provide food for the children. The team also helped add security improvements to the home.
Renee Vandermause (Madison, Wisc.), who played her final season with the SU women’s soccer team in 2012, has also previously been involved in PWOB trips, including trips to Nicaragua and Zambia, and past trips to Belize.
As it was the first trip of this kind for all three, their experience was unforgettable and can only best be told in their own words. The following are first-hand accounts from Woodward, Verdoia, and Russell.
JULIE WOODWARD: “Our service trip to Belize was an amazing, humbling, and beautiful experience. Being able to share it with Steph and Renae was extremely special and continued to remind me what a great place Seattle U is, not just for student athletes, but our campus community as a whole. We were able to help others, meet some wonderful people and experience another country’s culture. It is something I will never forget.”
STEPHANIE VERDOIA: “The mission of Professionals Without Borders is to ‘empower students to serve and lead sustainable service projects that help people in need’. Seattle University facilities employees lead groups of students around the world to make these projects happen. Ten of us made the trip down to Belize including three facilities employees, Coach Woodward, an employee from admissions, and five students. We worked at an orphanage called Liberty Children's Home, a place where Professionals Without Borders has made several trips. Our main goal was to fix the gutters on their school building, but we also temporarily fixed a leak in their boys’ dormitory. Professionals Without Borders is an organization that takes pride in creating strong relationships with the people they help, and finishing the jobs they start.
While in Belize we got a few days to explore and see the sights, but undeniably the best part of my experience was spending time with the children at Liberty. At the beginning of the trip I expected to feel some strong emotions while working at an orphanage in a relatively poor country. I definitely did, but they were opposite of what I expected. I did not worry or get upset but instead I was overwhelmed with happiness and affection. I felt this way because the environment that Liberty has created is welcoming and warm. This amazing group of kids showed me how to move past hard times in life and what family truly means. The children look after one another and treat each other as brothers and sisters, and are surrounded by caregivers and staff that love them and always want the best for them. The kids were truly happy no matter what circumstances put them there. They were a special kind of family, and they made us feel like we were a part of it.
Being a part of the soccer team at Seattle University has allowed me to create my own unique family up in Seattle. My teammates are like my sisters, and I cherish every moment I get to spend with them on and off the field. The children at Liberty reminded me that no matter what obstacles you face in life, the people that help you through them are the most important. Thanks to Professionals Without Borders I not only explored a new country, but I was reminded of the priorities I want to uphold throughout my life.”
RENAE RUSSELL: “Going to Belize was an amazing experience that I will remember forever. Being at the Liberty Children's Home and playing with the kids was definitely eye-opening. The kids there have a lot less than what we have here in America, yet everyday they would be outside playing with huge smiles on their faces. Our group stayed overnight at the orphanage for the first two nights and then we moved to a house down the street for the remainder of our stay. We slept in one of the dorms that was across from the kids dorms, and I will never forget the second night, when we could hear the kids singing Miley Cyrus' ‘The Climb’ and Michael Jackson's ‘Man In The Mirror’. It helped me to realize that we do not need much to be happy. The main reason for our trip was to take down the old rusted gutters on one of the buildings and put new ones up. The gutters emptied the water into water storage tanks until they needed it. It felt so good when we finished, knowing that we contributed to helping the children's home. While we were working some of the kids would come over and help hand us tools and just hang out. We had a lot of time where we could play with the kids around the orphanage and we learned so much about each of them individually. When it came time to say goodbye to them at the end of the trip, we found ourselves at a loss for words; we could not express how much we were going to miss them and how much of an impact they had on us. The kids were wonderful and they all found ways to touch our hearts.
There were also a few days where we were able to go experience some tourist attractions in Belize. On the first day, we visited the Mayan temples, and we spent the second day at the island Caye Caulker, where the water was crystal clear. One of the nights, the lady that runs the orphanage invited us to her beach house, which was absolutely amazing. Her house did not have electricity or running water, which was another new experience for me. On our last full day in Belize we went on a three-mile hike in a cave where we climbed up waterfalls and jumped down them into large pools of water; as scary as it was, I would most definitely do it again!
Overall, Belize was absolutely amazing and I am so glad that I got to go. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to go again next year because I miss it already.”
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Click here to see the original article.