Student Recalls Service as a New Batch Prepare to EmbarkFebruary 11, 2013

From now on, every time Elliot Wityk goes to get a drink of water from the faucet, he’s going to be reminded and thankful for all of the conveniences he has around him.

Wityk, Springfield, Mo., senior, and 14 of his Rockhurst classmates kicked off the service immersion trip season with trips to Nicaragua and New Orleans over the winter break. Now, 50 more students are getting passports and boarding passes ready as they prepare for the next round of trips in March.

 “What the eyes see the heart feels,” said Bill Kriege, assistant director of campus ministry, about the need for the service trips. “There is certainly plenty of poverty and opportunity to serve right in our area, and we do that, but sometimes removing ourselves from the everyday normal can awaken in us something new.”

On March 2, six more groups will travel at home and abroad to do service in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Joplin, Mo., and West Virginia.

Jennifer Peters, head of technical services at Greenlease Library, said she was excited to take the trip to the Dominican Republic with Rocio Duncan, associate professor of Spanish.

“We are being given this great opportunity to directly experience another culture while doing some good,” she said.

For Wityk, being able to go on a service trip was something he had always wanted to do, but his spring sports schedule always prevented him. He learned about the winter trips and signed up.

For a week in early January, Wityk, 14 other undergrads as well as a faculty and staff companion, laid about 500 feet of pipe for water in Chinandega, Nicaragua. While he was there he realized how bad the situation was for this small village outside of Chinandega, which did not have access to clean water during the 90 plus degree heat of Nicaragua in January.

In the end, not only was he able to help build the infrastructure to make life better for the village, this trip laid the groundwork for new friendships he hopes to keep for a lifetime.

“We were all sweating while doing the same work and by the end of the day, we were all exhausted,” Wityk said. “ It was at those times the camaraderie of the group couldn’t have been higher. We barely knew each other when we left, but we each came back with 16 new friends.” 

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