Alternative Spring Breaks
Some University of Alabama students opted to go on mission trips during their week off from school.
By Anna Fogg
While many students can find themselves at the beach or on a rollercoaster during spring break, others find themselves in new countries helping others. Going on an alternative spring break has students getting involved in mission trips that allow them to spend their week off from school bettering the lives of other people.
Alyssa Woltemath, a sophomore at the University of Alabama, went on a medical mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua. Hoping to become a doctor, Woltemath was excited to be able to get some hands on experience that can be hard to find here in the states.
“We walked around the village next to Buenos Aires and we did a census where we got to see who was living in each household and their conditions,” Woltemath said. “Then we advised them to the clinics that we were going to do.”
As the people from the village showed up, Woltemath and the other volunteers assessed each patient and tried to properly diagnose them. The doctor there would then come over and help the students in case they might have missed something and before they any diagnosis or medication was signed off on.
“After that we went to this warehouse and bought a bunch of toys for the kids like coloring books, candy, my little pony things, and hula hoops,” Woltemath said. “All of us bought a bunch of things for the village and we played with all the kids for that morning.”
Woltemath enjoyed helping the members of the village and creating bonds with the other students that were on the trip. Although the trip only happens once a year during spring break, Woltemath would go back without any hesitation.
Miranda Casey, a junior at the University of Alabama, is majoring in social work and traveled to the Dominican Republic on a church mission trip to help bring clean water to the people living there.
“We partnered with an organization called Filter of Hope and installed 140 filters,” Casey said. “We took the filters and installed them and used the filter to show how it purified the water to explain to the people how it would purify their lives.”
Casey’s favorite memory from her trip came from when they showed people in the village that they would be able to finally drink clean water without any harm coming to them.
“There was one point where we use the filter and we would take a drink of the water after it had been cleaned, I took a drink of some water and then I handed it to the daughter of the woman living in the house to drink,” Casey said. “The mother had told us before that her kids had been sick from the water all the time and then her daughter drank the water and just the look in her mom’s face, I knew that she wasn’t worried about her children getting sick anymore.”
Jordyn Stone, a senior at the University of Alabama, always wanted to go on a mission trip and this spring break she and her roommates decided to go to Pacaya, Guatemala with an organization called Clubhouse Guatemala.
“In Pacaya they had a 20 year plan to build the camp that we stayed at, this church, a clinic, and a school, and within that four year period they have already built three of them, and we helped finished the clinic,” Stone said. “We painted inside of the clinic and organized it while we were there and then we also built two houses for two people that lived in the community around us.”
In addition to that, Stone enjoyed hosting a couple vacation bible school sessions for the children in the village. Meeting and interacting with the children was Stone’s favorite part of the trip.
“The kids were so welcoming and they were so grateful for everything that they had,” Stone said. I think making an impact their lives was probably my favorite thing and building relationships because we got to stick with the same elementary school the entire week and we were able to make really good relationships with each child we came in contact with.”
Whether it was Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, or Guatemala, all of these students were able to make a lasting and important impact not only in the people’s lives that lived there but in their lives as well.