2016 Siena Trip to St. Gabriel's
From January 5-12th, ten students and two chaperones from Siena College went on the fourth annual service trip to St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Fontaine, Haiti. The trip was sponsored by Siena’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy. Among the participants were five freshmen, three juniors, and two seniors. The chaperones were Fr. Dennis Tamburello, O.F.M. (Prof. of Religious Studies) and Edward Travis (Assistant Director for Services, Facilities Dept.)
The purpose of the trip was to teach English for several days at St. Gabriel’s, and to experience the people and their culture. On Sunday, January 10th, we joined in the liturgical celebration of the Catholic community in Fontaine. We also played and/or observed a lot of soccer games with the youth of the town.
One of the student trip leaders has this to say about our experience:
For the last week, 9 Siena students, 2 faculty members and I had the amazing opportunity to teach English to roughly 200 students from grades 7-12 at St. Gabriel’s School in Fontaine, Haiti. Being that this trip had been my third time out of the country for service, I thought I knew what to expect, but as the week went on I realized Fontaine was like nothing I had experienced before. To my surprise, it was an entirely different trip. From the minute we pulled into St. Gabriel’s, we were greeted by the most special young boy named Mackenzie, who was just so excited for us to be there. Mackenzie treated each one of us like he had known us for years, and it was he who put the immediate smile on each one of our faces. The warm welcomes continued up until the day we left the city, and each person we met treated us as if we were family. As a foreign language major, and someone who has studied other languages over the past few years, teaching English was right up my alley. These amazing students showed such appreciation and compassion and really made us realize why we decided to take the trip to Fontaine in the first place. Each one of those students holds a special place in each of our hearts, and have changed our lives forever. Those of us from Siena College formed strong bonds in just one week, and we owe much of that to the people of the St. Gabriel’s community. Serving the community of Fontaine was a blessing and absolutely life-changing. I can speak for all of us on the trip in saying that we owe the people of Fontaine a huge thank you for showing us such love and friendship, and it was our pleasure to help out at St. Gabriel’s.
–Rebecca Sullivan, Trip Leader, Siena College Class of 2017