Flying Jayhawks trip leaves lasting impact

Posted on May 20, 2014 in Alumni News and News

Marjorie Short’s bucket list included an African safari, so when she received notice that the Flying Jayhawks were planning such an adventure, she knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity. She asked her son and daughter in-law, William, b’77, and Sharon Holefelder Short, d’77, to accompany her on the Flying Jayhawks trip to Tanzania last January. Little did she know she would leave Tanzania with much more than memories of animals in the wild.

The trip included several safaris during various times of the day, and evenings were spent relaxing in picturesque lodges and chatting with fellow travelers. During strolls through the villages, they encountered dire poverty. “Language was definitely a barrier,” Marjorie says, “but smiles went a long way.”

OZariki School, Tanzania | www.kualumni.orgn one walk, a guide took the travelers to the Zariki School and introduced them to the headmaster. The school was started in 2009 in Mwabulugu, a small fishing village near Lake Victoria. As Marjorie observed the conditions of the school, she realized she could help in many ways. “I went to the school thinking I would give them $1,000 for books, but when I saw what they had I realized they needed so much more than books,” she says. The school, built with and supported by donations, had only three classrooms for first, second and third grades, and the nearest school where the children could continue their education was three miles down the road—with no means of transportation to get them there. “It was a life-changing experience for me, and since my background is education I felt the need to help them,” Marjorie says.

Help them she did—with a pledge to build a fourth classroom. She asked to name it  “The Jayhawk Classroom” in honor of her children and grandchildren, who are KU graduates. The headmaster told the visitors that the children understand the only way out of poverty is through education. “It is a good feeling to know you are helping so many children who cannot help themselves,” Marjorie says.

Watch the slideshow below to see pictures from Tanzania, or view them on Flickr. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks travel programs, visit our travel site or contact Tegan Thornberry at tthornberry@kualumni.org or 785.864.4765.

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