Christian Service cancels trip to Armenia, adds India

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Matt Lanetti

As tensions rise in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the annual senior service trip to Armenia has been replaced with a trip to India.

With Ukraine seemingly on the brink of war, and with little knowledge of what the situation may be like in June, Mr. Larry Legner, Director of Christian Service, has replaced the Armenia senior service trip with India.

“I immediately started thinking- Is this going to be safe?,” said Legner. He began a discussion with the sister that manages service workers at the orphanage in Armenia. She replied, “Things are getting worse here, I would not take the risk if you don’t have to.” That was all Mr. Legner had to hear to start looking for a new place

As Mr. Legner repeated several times, safety is of course the number one concern.

When Mr. Legner set out to find a new location, he had to collaborate with St. Augustine Prep, as they were originally traveling with Malvern Prep to Armenia. This dynamic nature, unique to the Armenian service trip, provided Mr. Legner with an even greater challenge.

Several locations initially considered were Fiji, Malta, and Panama. That isn’t all, “Canada contacted me,” said a smiling Mr. Legner. Apparently Malvern has earned such a global reputation for service that a potential service location from Canada contacted him. Mr. Legner explained that the Canadian option had to be dropped as the labour was too far removed from the social work with locals experienced in our service trips.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 9.51.10 PMIn the end, the Indian location of Kochi was chosen. Readers may remember this as the then-potential location previously mentioned in an article from September 2013.

Mr. Legner confirmed that St. Augustine Prep students will be traveling with Malvern, and that Kochi is yet another Augustinian location. Students will be staying at an Augustinian seminary, as well as visiting an Augustinian high school for 2 days. Along with Peru, South Africa, and the Philippines, Malvern now has a total of 4 global Augustinian Christian service trips. While in India, students will have an opportunity to work first hand with the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order of Mother Teresa.

Before having any students go on the service trip, Malvern already has a strong connection to Kochi. Arjun Menon ‘15 has relatives in and around the south-western port city, and has been there himself.

“Not only are they [MP friars] going to be able to give of themselves, but also give to themselves. They will receive a much more complete idea of the world and it’s many cultures,” said Menon.  Menon described Kochi specifically as having a high English fluency rate, which should make Christian Service more straightforward.

Arjun will be attending Malvern’s first ever service trip to the Philippines this June. While Arjun is in the Philippines, David Lanetti ‘15 and 6 of his classmates will be in India. Although there was an initial disappointment in learning that he would not be traveling to Armenia, Lanetti is more than excited for India. “Kochi seems like a beautiful city, especially the seminary we will be staying at. I can’t wait to collaborate with the students from St. Augustine Prep, and experience such a profound culture.”