Feb. 4, 2014
COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eleven WTAMU Freshmen Selected for Readership Trip to Uganda
CANYON, Texas—More than 300 West Texas A&M University freshmen wrote essays about this year’s Readership WT book selection Wine to Water, and 11 winners will travel to Uganda in March to help the book’s author and his team with ongoing water projects in the East African country.
“I am so excited,” Mateus Barbosa da Silva, a musical theatre major from Brazil, said. “I put my heart and soul into that essay. To dive into a new culture will be a life-changing experience for all of us.”
The trip marks the seventh international sojourn for winners of a Readership WT essay contest. Each of the trips have related to the Readership WT book selection, and this year’s journey to Uganda is no different. Author Doc Hendley is the founder of Wine for Water, an organization committed to providing clean water for the world. It all started when Hendley, a bartender, organized some wine tasting events to raise awareness and funds for clean water projects. Those events eventually landed him in Darfur, Sudan. He spent a year there, dodging Janjaweed terrorists while trying to protect the country’s limited water sources. He found his calling and since 2004, he’s been helping repair and maintain water containment systems in places like Uganda, Haiti, Darfur, Ethiopia and Cambodia. His story tells how an ordinary guy can do amazing things to change the world.
“I loved the book,” Lora Stewart, a communication disorders major from Roscoe, said. “It inspires you to look outside yourself.”
The WTAMU group will leave Amarillo early on March 6, arrive in Uganda late on March 7 and return March 17. The University is actually partnering with Wine to Water for the spring break trip. The organization was considering offering opportunities for campus chapters and groups to participate on projects as service trips. The Readership WT program, with its experience with international travel, offered the perfect connection for Wine to Water’s budding idea.
“We decided to work together for Wine to Water’s first service opportunity given our experience taking students on these types of trips,” Kendra Campbell, director of First Year Experience, said. “It is a great partnership for both of us because they have well established connections and resources on the ground. We discussed locations in several countries where they have projects and decided on Uganda given the connection to the book and the timing of some projects that are already in the works.”
During the nine days in Uganda, the students will work on current water projects alongside local community members in Kigumba.
“We are helping build rainwater harvesting tanks that help collect water for communities,” Campbell said. “We also are helping construct water filters in the communities we will be working with, and we will be distributing them to families as well as helping train them on proper utilization and other water safety topics.”
In addition to the work projects, the Readership group will travel to Murchison Falls National Park and the River Nile. Campbell said they also hope to visit local schools and take part in a tank dedication ceremony in one of the villages.
Joining Campbell on the trip will be Dr. Amy Andersen, associate provost, and Jacquelyn Brockman, a senior education major from Amarillo, as peer leader. Anyone interested in helping sponsor a student on the Readership WT trip can contact Campbell at 806-651-2358 or email@example.com or the Office of Development at 806-651-2070.
The 11 freshmen traveling to Uganda are listed by hometown.
Trenton Allen, undeclared major
Abigail Betts, computer science major
Dylan Wilhelm, pre-engineering major
Mateus Barbosa da Silva, musical theatre major
Francesco Lo Sauro, history major
Kathya Saenz, computer science major
Mason Paetzold, pre-engineering major
Alejandra Hernandez, pre-nursing major
Lora Stewart, communication disorders major
Jesus Alfredo Rosendo, pre-engineering major
Casey Watson, equine industry and business major