Thursday, October 30, 2014

Students set for ‘transformational’ mission travels

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 12/6/2013

WILLIAMSBURG — Deanna Goracke’s dream of traveling to Nicaragua couldn’t be stopped — not even by cancer.

“I had planned on going last year and couldn’t because I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have treatment,” Goracke said. “I just have a need to go. There are some things you just have to do. This is one of them.”

WILLIAMSBURG — Deanna Goracke’s dream of traveling to Nicaragua couldn’t be stopped — not even by cancer.

“I had planned on going last year and couldn’t because I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have treatment,” Goracke said. “I just have a need to go. There are some things you just have to do. This is one of them.”

The 41-year-old mother is a senior at Washburn University. She plans to spend 15 days in early January in Nicaragua as part of the Washburn Transformational Experience, she said.

“I’m a human service major with an emphasis in youth services and victim survivor services,” Goracke said. “This trip is going to expose me to a lot of grassroots programs, along with a different culture and exposure to community togetherness.”

The excursion will be extra special for Goracke, she said, because her son, Nathan Robertson, who also is a student at Washburn, is heading to Nicaragua through the program too.

“I have five children, and he’s my second to oldest,” she said. “It’s nice to get to experience that with him.”

Goracke and Robertson’s trip will include mission-type work, spending the majority of their time helping those in the second-poorest country in the world.

“We’ll go to a women’s clinic in Managua, one of the most impoverished neighborhoods,” Goracke said. “We are actually going to spend five days in a village called El Limon, and while we’re there we participate in a service learning project. Whatever the village needs, we help build or make it and we actually live with them in their homes.”

 Grateful for the opportunity, Goracke said, she’s excited to get to experience new things that previously seemed like only a dream.

“I think that’s part of the learning experience, being put in [a different country],” she said. “You get more out of the experience than you do out of a textbook.”

Taylor Moore, an Ottawa High School graduate and now a senior at Washburn University, will be taking a transformational trip of her own through the same Washburn program — though her adventure will lead her to Costa Rica.

“I’ve really always wanted to study abroad,” Moore said. “It’s been my biggest dream for forever, but it’s so expensive.”

Most of the cost of the Costa Rica trip comes out of Moore’s own pocket, she said, but the Washburn Transformational Experience is helping to defray some of the costs.

“Since I’m going on this trip, [Washburn] will have me do extra stuff, like write a report and make a presentation about the trip and what I got out of it,” Moore said. “Then they give me a $900 scholarship to put toward my trip.”

Moore is majoring in psychology, she said, and although she’s not sure exactly how she wants to use her degree, she knows she wants to do something with children.

“Anytime you can go into a situation and get another perspective on life — it’s amazing,” she said about the Costa Rica trip. “Especially from these children that really have almost nothing and are lacking in every area and just to come back home and see how good we have it will be a shock.”

Leaving Jan. 3 and returning Jan. 12, Moore said it won’t be a vacation, but like Goracke’s scheduled activities, it will include helping the less fortunate.

“There’s an orphanage down there and it’s basically a mission trip through Washburn,” she said. “We’re going to help with a lot of construction work down there and helping build stuff for them. At some selective times during the day, we’re going to interact with kids and create games for them to play and introduce sports and stuff like that to them.”

comments powered by Disqus