DCHS Extraordinaire

DCHS Extraordinaire

Morgan Raley, Staff

Sydney Richard, DCHS class of 2017, embarked on the chance of a lifetime this January. She, along with seventeen other St. Francis parishioners, took part in a two week mission trip to a small village three hours north of Johannesburg, South Africa. This being her first time out of the country, Richard described her angst of experiencing an entirely foreign culture in the most authentic form possible. The mission is sponsored by Blessman Ministries, a religious affiliation that works to meet the physical needs of the children of South Africa by providing nutritional support, housing, and medical care.

The ultimate objective of the trip is to build a number of Enviro Loos, waterless toilet systems that provide a safe, non-polluting, cost-effective solution to the sanitation crisis. These are formed as permanent structures, never requiring removal or replacement. The group will also gather all teenage girls from the village with the intention of  teaching proper forms of staying healthy and keeping in touch with one’s body by providing sanitary products in order to stay involved in daily activities. However, the most important responsibility placed on Richard’s shoulders will be spreading the message of God’s love by providing a signal of hope and healing through the powers of Jesus Christ.

Richard departed with her fellow parishioners on January 12th and expects to return January 24th. When asked in an interview of her expectations for the trip, she revealed her hopes of forming a greater awareness for those who are suffering and a special sensitivity towards foreign cultures. Richard was excited by the idea of being without cellular connection and social media for the entirety of her trip, gaining the opportunity to experience each moment to the fullest, rather than wasting time in front of a dangerously addicting screen.

While Richard revealed her nervousness about the distance and duration away from home, she finds comfort in her opportunity to make connections with a group of people she otherwise would not. Not many high school students have the exclusive opportunity to make such an immediate impact, but Sydney is definitely the girl for the job! Her constant willingness to offer a helping hand has the ability to inspire those lucky enough to experience it.