This year my family celebrated the new year twice in one day. The first time was a nail biter. To explain, I have to jump back in time. Just a few days earlier we had sent our son back to college after spending Christmas break at home. He needed to pack up things back at his home-away-from-home and get ready to leave on a trip to South Africa. He is part of a study abroad group from West Texas A&M University.
Back to the nail biting. As parents of three college students, my wife and I are working through the process of watching our children transition into adults. They are moving away, planning a wedding, traveling to a foreign country, and forgetting to text their mom. All during the Christmas break. This makes life a little tense at times.
All was good after we heard that our son and his group had safely arrived in Cape Town after several days of travel. They arrived just in time to ring in the new year on South Africa time, which is 8 hours ahead of us. We celebrated as well knowing he had made the long journey from Amarillo, Dallas, Chicago, Vienna, then Cape Town. That was the first new year we celebrated. We still had hours to go until our transition into the new year. We eventually had the second new year celebration with our other young adult children. But, enough about us and on to the main story.
The West Texas A&M University experiential learning program began in the Spring of 2018 with their maiden trip to Cape Town, South Africa. That year the program sent 23 people under the leadership of Dr. Enyonam Osei-Hwere. The trip was described on their blog site as a “life-changing trip and experience and one of the most successful programs sponsored by the study abroad office at West Texas A & M university under the directorship of Carolina Galloway.”
This year there are 11 participants in the program under Dr. Osei-Hwere’s leadership. Five members of the group have returned for a second time. Two members of the group are from Dumas. My son, Chase Brady, who currently attends WTAMU and Dumas High School senior Jordan Conde, who is the son of Cesar and Kasinda Conde.
The student participants of the group are undergraduate students Cody Stephens, Chase Brady, Hannah Frick, Maria Valles, Gloria Torres, Alexander Kypfer, Lourdes De Avila and Katy Zimmerman and graduate student Dane Glenn. The remaining participants are Professor Connie McKee, and Frank Navarrete. Jordan Conde and Ellee Reeves are the two senior high school students of the group.
The 2019-2020 study abroad group worked with two non-profit organizations; iKhaya Le Langa and Building Bridges. They created websites, developed a marketing campaign, and created video content to support the work of the two organizations. The students also worked with two schools by building libraries with books they traveled with from the United States. And, they provided kids with sports equipment. The group has an excellent blog website you can follow and the they have produced several vlogs documenting the trip.
Dumas, and the Texas Panhandle, can be proud that we have such a great group of young adults engaged in working to make the world a better place. Take some time and read the WTAMU Cape Town 2020 Blog and be sure to watch the vlogs as well. They are all great!