Sophomore travels to Tanzania to serve, experience culture


photo courtesy of Jon Cadle

Sophomore Jon Cadle spent part of his summer volunteering in Tanzania: distributing supplies to villages and schools, and immersing himself in the local culture.

Jason Kang, Staff Writer

On June 16, Jon Cadle, a sophomore at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, set off for Tanzania with his mom, friend, and seven other people from the Lord of Life Church. During his trip, Cadle visited multiple third world villages, distributing supplies and food to the locals. Although sharing a twin-sized bed with another six-foot tall teenager, struggling to fall asleep under a mosquito net, and using a reeking bathroom do not remain as his favorable memories,the mission trip gave Cadle a chance to assist a community suffering from poverty and starvation. “It was undoubtedly the best experience of my life”, Cadle said.

After a 19 hour plane ride, Cadle and his companions arrived in the largest city in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. They then drove over 300 miles to the village of Iringa, where Cadle and his group gave out 1,200 pounds of clothes, medical supplies and educational supplies to six different schools. “We brought about 24 bags full of supplies. Every year we ask what they need more and bring them the following year,” Cadle said.

For over two weeks, the mission trip not only provided Cadle with a special opportunity to experience Tanzania but grow a unique relationship with villagers and children. Few days after arriving in Tanzania, the villagers prepared a feast to welcome Cadle and his group. The feast surprisingly provided more than enough food for the company, and fully conscious of their ongoing starvation Cadle knew that the villagers sacrificed their weekly ration to please his group. “I was surprised about how all the people [living there] always had a smile on their faces even though they were living in poverty. They were even happier than us,” Cadle said.

Although beneficial, going to Tanzania also presented plenty of inconveniences for Cadle. Every morning, he awoke at 6:30 a.m, and forced to split a limited space with eight other people, Cadle had alter to his morning routine to adjust to his change of environment. Rarely having access to enough water, he seldom washed his face and would go two to four days without a shower. Food also became luxury; every meal consisted of beans, rice and boiled chicken, but Cadle soon realized he was lucky enough to receive daily food. “We usually eat dinner around seven. We have to eat in total darkness under the stars and the moon because the sun goes down really early,” Cadle said.

In preparation for his trip, Cadle, aware of the dangers of getting sick, received six different vaccinations. “To be honest, I was scared for the mission trip. But it really comes down to the mission trip. [Traveling] sounds like a drag, but it’s not. It’s really fun,” Cadle said.

Overall, the mission trip made it possible for Cadle to enhance his awareness on Tanzania’s poverty and the way the people deal with it. “When I was coming back I wished I stayed for another couple days.I definitely plan on going back and feel obliged to go back and help more people out,” Cadle said.