By Charley Duggan ‘24

Over spring break, Brother Rice students and staff members attended the annual Peru mission trip, which was led by Mr. Mike Dolan, the moderator of the Advocacy Club, along with faculty members Mr. Hunter Michniak and Mrs. Michelle Toman.

The climate was very hot and humid when the group arrived. The Peruvian people were incredibly friendly and caring. However, the group found themselves noticing how different life in this area of Peru is from their lives in Chicago.

Many students were surprised by the culture and living conditions. A majority of the people were poor and in need of support.

The first immersion trip to Lima was sponsored by the Christian Brothers 17 years ago bringing change to the Peruvian people. Their goal was, according to Mr. Dolan, “to bring emphasis to those made poor in the world and the actions we can do to make their lives better.”  Br. Stephen Casey has been at the forefront of the mission trips, and three years ago, Mr. Dolan took the first group of Crusaders to Peru to experience a mission trip.  Each year, the Crusaders helped build a house for a family in Lima. They all pitched in with painting, laying and drying cement, and building the exterior walls.

Senior Marcos Martinez was amazed at how different life is for the Peruvian people.

Martinez said, “The trip was a big culture shock – in a good way. At first it was nerve wracking because it’s not a territory I’m used to. After the trip, I felt amazing. I felt like a new person in a way and was more appreciative of the things that I have. I would 100 percent recommend the trip for anyone. The country of Peru is so beautiful.”

Despite hot and humid weather, the group battled through the heat and made a successful trip. They also were able to enjoy some of the tourist attractions, taking in the sights and sounds of Lima.

Senior Thomas Partida enjoyed the tourist attractions of Peru.

Partida said, “The trip was an amazing experience which was really eye opening. I liked that there was still time for tourist activities. After the trip, I felt very grateful for all that I have at home, especially my education and the opportunities Brother Rice gives me. I would recommend this trip for anyone in the future who is considering going on it. It was very fun and overall a very enjoyable experience.”

For many students, this was the first time they have been out of the country. Students experienced a lot of mixed feelings. Many of the students were excited but also nervous.

Senior Jacob Harden said, “It was an incredible experience being able to see how poverty in Chicago does not compare to the poverty seen in Peru. Being able to see how people live on another continent was an incredible experience and taught me a lot. I felt lucky to live in such a rich country and happy that I got to experience the mission trip. The atmosphere was incredible. The Peruvian people were so nice to us and always seemed to be happy at every turn.”

On Easter Sunday, the group went to a Peruvian mass with hundreds of people. The mass was very different; it was much larger than what the Crusaders had experienced here in Chicago and was completely in Spanish. The beauty of the country and the cultural differences made this a rewarding opportunity for the Brother Rice students who were able to attend.  This year’s trip was another success, and Crusaders interested in exploring another culture while lending a helping hand should take advantage of the opportunity to attend next year’s Peru mission trip.