Earlier this summer I participated in a three-week service trip to Kenya with four of my classmates from Regis High School.
By Luke Passannante
Earlier this summer I participated in a three-week service trip to Kenya with four of my classmates from Regis High School. Kibera, Nairobi stands as the second largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa and is home to over one million people. Situated right outside the slum, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a tuition-free Jesuit High School, serves students from Kibera who have lost one or both parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. St. Aloysius guarantees four years of high school and three years of college or vocational school for those students who otherwise are unable to afford higher education.
During the trip our group co-facilitated two retreats with student leaders from St. Aloysius. We also visited the Nyumbani Orphanage, a home for children with HIV/AIDS. Walking through the Kibera slum, along roads paved with mud and trash and past thousands of makeshift scrap-metal homes, remains one of the most powerful experiences of the trip. The extent of the poverty dominating daily life for the slum residents and their cramped living arrangements, stand in stark contrast to our lives in Rye.
Despite the many seemingly insurmountable barriers to daily life, the students of St. Aloysius carry themselves with joy and dignity.
Functioning as the designated photographer for the duration of the trip, I did my best to capture the otherworldly nature of the experience. And, in an attempt to raise awareness of and funds for St. Al’s, I will be hosting a photography exhibit chronicling the trip, from the conditions of the slums to the students to our brief safari excursion, at the Rye Arts Center August 28 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
All proceeds from the sale of photographs will benefit St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School. The Gallery will be open until September 7. All are welcome.
The author will be a senior at Regis this fall.