Private company to coordinate third trip to Rwanda scheduled for summer 2013


image courtesy of Travel-Ed, LLC

17 BSM students are traveling to Rwanda with Travel-Ed, LLC this summer.

Anna McCloskey and Megan Pohle

When junior high theology teacher Ms. Susie Hinnendael and former history teacher Mr. James Cave started teaching the Genocide and Social Justice class, they placed a lot of focus on the Rwandan genocide of 1994, when an ethnic clash resulted in the deaths approximately a million civilians. Soon after beginning the class, Mr. Cave proposed to his colleague Mr. Dave Kuntz, a BSM junior high history and Genocide and Social Justice teacher, a trip to explore the culture of Rwanda and its traumatic history. Beginning in 2009, and then again in 2011, Mr. Cave and Mr. Kuntz took groups of students to visit the now-peaceful country and experience what it has to offer.

After Mr. Cave chose to pursue other opportunities last February, the teachers wanted to continue the Rwanda program. “We decided the easiest way to do that was to form a small company that would allow us to work together and continue to offer the program,” Mr. Kuntz said. This also proved beneficial in that students from outside the BSM community could participate in the educational trips.

The company, first known as Rwanda Class Trip, LLC, is now known as Travel-Ed, LLC. “Actually, Mr. Sylvester and James and I had been talking for several years about starting an educational travel company,” Mr. Kuntz said. This inspiration led to the creation of the company, which hopes to expand to both domestic and international educational travel trips. The company’s first trip will be this summer, from June 16th to June 30th. The two teachers plan to take 18 students, 17 of them from BSM, to Rwanda for a unique student travel experience.

Genocide and Social Justice has been my favorite class I’ve taken and going to one of the places we learned about will be amazing. The history of Rwanda fascinates me, so it’ll be really interesting to see firsthand.”

— Michelle Sauer

The trips itinerary includes everything from learning about the Rwandan genocide to experiencing a Gorilla Trek in the Rwandan jungle. “The last half of the trip is doing more genocide stuff and traveling to see genocide memorials and learning about what happened in the genocide in 1994 in Rwanda. The beginning of the trip is more cultural, like the gorilla trek and just doing stuff the people of Rwanda do and see on a daily basis,” junior Zoe Cave said.

Unlike Benilde’s mission trips to places such as Guatemala, Travel-ed, LLC, is not necessarily a service trip, although the trip will contain some similar aspects. “In Rwanda we will do a little bit of mission work, but the base or reason for a mission trip is mission work and in Rwanda thats not the purpose. The purpose is seeing cultural experiences and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone while maybe helping and also gaining more experiences,” Cave said.