Mission Trip To South Africa
A group of 21 students, faculty and parents from MBA decided to put a different spin on their summer vacation this year, choosing to go on a mission trip to Maluti Adventist Hospital in the Kingdom of Lesotho, a small country within South Africa from June 18 to July 4, 2006.
“It was a privilege for my family and me to show this group a country that is easy to love, but hard to accept,” said Justine Leonie, MBA’s art teacher and a native South African who organized and led the mission trip. “The needs in Lesotho are tantamount to a bottomless pit. Still, in just a short amount of time I feel as though we were able to make a difference there in Maluti and we hope that our contributions will endure far beyond our stay.”
The group took on several projects while in Lesotho. The main project was helping to build a new Sabbath school building for the church on the hospital grounds. Currently Sabbath school groups meet outside, which can be difficult during the winter months for this country, where freezing temperatures and snow are common in the winter. The group raised $9,000 to fund the new building and supplied much of the manpower that got construction underway. MBA’s group of volunteers also helped to fix up the local Adventist school and pediatric wing of the hospital.
“When I tell people I went to Lesotho they say ‘Lesotho, where’s that?’” Donna Baerg, MBA’s math teacher said. “I’m so happy we were able to go because there is so much need and even if we did a little good, it’s more than the people in Maluti usually see.”
Lesotho is certainly a country in need. The total population of Lesotho only numbers 2.2 million and 29 percent of those people are afflicted with HIV or AIDS. Currently, a person who lives in Lesotho is only expected to live 34 years. When you combine the HIV/AIDS epidemic with the 45 percent unemployment rate, poor access to food and nutrition, and severely low birth weights, the problems in Lesotho seem overwhelming.
“The country was so poor. I don’t think you can realize the need they have in Africa until you go and see for yourself,” Hillary Rollins, a sophomore from Santa Cruz said. “What was really amazing was the people. Even though they didn’t have much, they were so warm and welcoming. They were happy with so little and that really impressed me.”
Despite the tough realities that Lesotho presented every day, many of the missionaries weren’t ready to leave when the time came. The locals were also sad to see the group go, thanking each group member for their kindness and efforts.
“This was my first short-term mission trip,” said Jovinia Mustard, who teaches kindergarten at VHM Christian School in Santa Cruz and lives at MBA. “I have many wonderful memories of the people of Lesotho and I hope that more people will go to Maluti in the future because they have so many needs. This was such a powerful experience. I can’t wait to go on a mission trip again.”