PTPI STORIES | Kris & Pakinam
USA & Egypt
At a very young age we remember reading about the people and animals of Africa. As youngsters, we dreamed about visiting some of the people described in our geography books and seeing wild elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos and zebras in Africa. The PTP trip of 2008 to Tanzania brought those descriptions to a wondrous reality and provided much, much more. We shall always treasure our experiences there. In many ways they changed our lives forever as the understandings of the different cultures developed through first-hand experiences.
Two of the many cultural highlights were: A visit to The School of St. Jude in the Arusha District of Tanzania which serves orphaned and vulnerable children. We were delighted and sometimes overwhelmed by how friendly, happy, and high achieving these students were.
Some of the Christian students had been a little afraid of meeting a Muslim person – they live in a village where many adults had expressed fears about a mosque being built in the village two years earlier. Therefore, it was so rewarding to hear students comment “Mrs. Alfy was SO nice.” Fear had been removed, and suddenly teenage girls realized that this young Muslim woman was just like them – as they commented “I really like your purse” and “What do your students wear?”
This was an exciting experience for the chapter after two years of following the penpal project between the Christian and Muslim students. As the teacher of these students. I believe this was one of the most valuable learning experiences they have had in their middle school years. I also believe that many parents were touched by their students’ involvement in this project. Ideas and attitudes toward Muslim people definitely changed because of this project. It is a beautiful example of how the world can change by changing a community – through its children.
We have thousands of members around the world, and each has a story to tell. From the youngest to oldest members and from the most poverty stricken corners of the world to our own backyards, we strive daily to change lives and break down barriers to peace and understanding.