In May 2013, 20 Le Moyne students and three faculty members traveled to the island nation of Dominica – the eighth such trip the College has sponsored since 2002 – as they work to build a community connection with one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE JESUIT TRADITION Through the various projects students and faculty have undertaken – including working with the elderly, handicapped children and elementary school students – the multiple trips have been the means by which the College has developed strong ongoing relationships with many persons and groups on the small island (it’s roughly four times the size of the District of Columbia), including the Catholic bishop in the city of Roseau, who has received the group each year.
“They’re grateful for us being there and all that we do working collaboratively with them,” said Don Maldari, S.J., who has run all eight trips. “And our student’s eyes are opened to the unjust disparity of wealth between first- and third-world countries. They return home saying they’ve been transformed – eager and better equipped to make the world a better place. I tell the students that in 10 days we’re not going to solve the problems of the world, but we’re definitely making a difference … they feel connected to us and we certainly feel connected to them.”
Father Maldari said that even though many groups travel to Caribbean islands on service trips, not many go to Dominica, partially because it is so small and also somewhat difficult to travel there. This year, for the first time, two distinct Le Moyne groups went on the trip – the Leadership, Education, Action and Decision (LEAD) Learning Community, and also students active in the College’s Theater Arts program, who spent much of their time working with Dominican children involved with theater.
Along with the sense of adventure inherent in such a trip, Father Maldari said that students are living the Jesuit tenet of service to others. “Their time in Dominica makes students aware of the needs of other parts of the world. At the end of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius writes that ‘Love ought to manifest itself more by deeds than by words’ and that ‘Love consists of mutual communication between two persons.’ ”
For more than a decade through their firsthand experiences in Dominica, more than 100 Le Moyne students, faculty and staff have brought those words to life in the real world.