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Windmills for water

Adrian Lysenko
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, March 17, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - Fifteen Yellowknife youth will be travelling to Tanzania this summer to help build local infrastructure. The initiative is part of the organization Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

On June 28, the youth ages 17 and 18, will travel to a village outside of the city of Dodoma, Tanzania where they will stay for six to seven weeks. While there they will build a windmill to pump water for local villagers and volunteer at a local orphanage.

"For the last 40 years the (missionaries) has brought Canadian students from Kamloops, B.C., Calgary and Toronto to Tanzania to build windmills," said deacon Brian Carter with Yellowknife Catholic Schools.

Two and a half years ago Carter was looking for a social justice program and came across the project run by the missionaries.

He recalled a meeting held two years ago in Yellowknife when a parent spoke to Brother Anthony Canterucci, director of the missionaries group.

"She asked him, 'With so much need in the Northwest Territories, why go to Africa?" recalled Carter.

"To which the Brother Anthony replied, 'Here in Canada we have all the resources necessary to stop poverty in its tracks. What we lack is the will to do so. In Tanzania they don't have any resources but they have the will."

Mike Plouffe, a Grade 12 student at St. Patrick High School, one of the youth taking part in the program, said he wants to do something meaningful with his life.

"I don't know what to expect," said Plouffe.

"I hope to gain a better appreciation for my life and everything I have here in Canada."

Alanna Menard, a recent graduate from St. Pat's, was originally going to take a year off but decided to head to Tanzania with the missionaries instead.

"I've always been interested in helping people, it's my passion," said Menard. "(I'd) love to help someone else."

Menard, who is taking a social work program at Aurora college, said the trip will help reinforce her carer choice.

James Franklin, an 18-year-old graduate from St. Pat's, said he going because everyone should have the right to clean water.

"We're very privileged here," said Franklin. "It's almost impossible for me to think what it's like not to have clean water."

Another student going to Tanzania, Anne Elder, a Grade 11 student at St. Pat's, will be helping fundraising efforts by playing piano at an evening gala fundraiser on Mar. 27 at the Explorer Hotel.

Other entertainment at the gala includes Rick Poltaruk, the Yellowknife Choral Society and a silent auction for Tanzanian art.

"Most of us we're 17 and 18," said Elder. "We're at a young age and it's cool to be helping someone out other than ourselves."

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