It may seem like an impossible task, but students at Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School in Orillia feel enthusiastic and ready to change the world, one small step at a time.
Patrick Fogarty students have the opportunity to take part in a mission trip to Nicaragua in 2018 through the Me to We foundation. This year, 44 applicants will go through an interview process and a team of 25-30 students will be picked before March break. Mr. Bosco and Mr. Carron will be leading the trip.
Students will take a two credit course the semester before their trip. They will learn about the religion and culture of Nicaragua, participate in team building skills, and study their faith and how it corresponds to the Catholic faith. When students arrive in Nicaragua, their main goal is building part of a school for the children in the area. They also usually visit a market, attend a local mass, and organize activities for local kids.
This will not be the first time Patrick Fogarty has participated in a mission trip run by Me To We. In 2014, students travelled to Bellavista, Ecuador for two and a half weeks. Matt Clifford, now a Patrick Fogarty graduate, was a participant. Matt recounted an unforgettable experience. During a break from building the school, he played a game of soccer with the local children, and they used a mango as a ball and broken pipe as a net. It started to rain, forming mud and even though the children were in their only school uniform, they did not care about getting covered in mud and by the end of the game both Matt and the kids were covered head to toe. Matt explained that this experience made him more aware of how little importance the children placed on material things and it didn’t matter if their clothes got dirty.
Jamie Ruffolo, now in grade 12 at Patrick Fogarty, had the opportunity to go to Namelok, Tanzania last year, for 10 days. One of her favorite experiences was participating in a water walk with the mamas, in which students walked many kilometers to get water for the day which was not that clean. She describes it as “eye-opening” and said it made her realize how lucky we are to turn on a tap and instantly have clean water.
Matt and Jamie had their own remarkable experiences, and so did everyone else who attended past mission trips. It’s also an incredible experience for people living in the countries we visit. Students who travel to Nicaragua next year will have the chance to create their own unforgettable experiences by helping other people.