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“Today was our first day at Maranatha School for the Deaf. The team's primary service project is to resurface the dorm's roof with concrete. We carried the wet concrete mix up a hill and ladder with buckets and a wheelbarrow. I had to carry three 94-pound concrete bags up the ladder. Yeah man, that was heavy!”
That’s a blog posting by Brian Kautz, a Manchester University junior health and physical education major from Indianapolis. The Dean’s List scholar also plays MU Soccer for Coach Dave Good – the real reason the Hoosier is 1,620 miles from home right now.
He’s with the Soccer Team on its traditional service adventure (this time in Jamaica), where the 30 MU students also are studying Human Conflict, an off-campus sociology class taught by Brad Yoder, professor of sociology and social work.
For three weeks, the students and their professor and coach (and his wife, Lois) will fully engage in the real Jamaica. Yes, they will hit the beaches, the bay and the waterfalls – but mostly, they will engage in the heavy lifting of service and interacting with locals from all walks of life. And play lots and lots of soccer with the local kids and adults.
Two fantastic blogs are keeping folks back home in touch with the worldly Samaritans, assuming they can grab the rare and squirrelly internet connections. Both accessible at www.manchester.edu:
“I had a lot of fun today working with the locals, eating great food and playing soccer,” blogs Matt Gray, senior communication studies major from Anderson, Ind. “By working with them I learned new ways to do some different jobs, like mixing concrete. Playing soccer at the end of the day was rewarding, especially since we had just finished filling the little arena with 20 tons of new sand. I'm really hoping to meet more locals and experience new things at the New Year's party this evening.”
Service: It’s an integral cog to the Manchester mission. Throughout the year, Manchester students log more than 40,000 hours of service. That makes MU a national leader recognized annually on the President’s Higher Education Community Service “Honor Roll.”
MU students and alumni medical and dental personnel also are doing grueling yet rewarding service this January in Nicaragua with the annual Medical Practicum. There, 16 pre-med and Spanish majors and other student volunteers are traveling rugged roads deep into the Central American country and then traveling a long day upriver to deliver medical services to remote Nicaraguans.
A total of 143 Manchester students are off-campus for January session, studying in Italy, France, Spain, England, Nicaragua, Jamaica and in Texas, Florida and Hawaii. Meanwhile, back home in Indiana, 52 classes are in full swing on the undergraduate, North Manchester campus, plus internships and online courses.