Lisa Morrison, a visiting professor in the Religion and Philosophy department this year, went on a three-week mission trip on Sept. 25 to South Africa, the country most affected by AIDS in the world.
Morrison heard of the trip through a friend who is on the board of trustees for Kerus Global Education. Kerus is an organization that has been in South Africa for 15 years. According to their website, “the Greek word Kerus means ‘of the heart’ or ‘to do something with passion.'”
Kerus has two educational doctors who have written a curriculum called, “It Takes Courage.” Their goal is to use this curriculum to help people understand how they can fight the AIDS epidemic.
Morrison went on the mission trip with her niece. They both worked at the organization’s orphanage in the township called Soshanguve. The orphanage has 138 elementary school students and is an after-school day care for children who have lost both parents to AIDS, whom they call “double orphans.” This orphan center is a place for them to get a meal because most of the children stay with aunts, cousins or grandparents who cannot afford to provide for them.
To see where these children live, the mission’s workers did home visits. One of the people Morrison visited was an old Zimbabwean woman who had three children and survived off $2, gained from selling collected bottles.
“When we went to visit her, she had no food at all and her arm was hurting from pushing the cart,” Morrison recalled. “She was living in a metal shack with no windows, no electricity. Nothing.”
Morrison also attended a four-day conference, where they used the “It Takes Courage” curriculum. They covered some of the fundamental values of the program, like purpose of life, vision, character building, healthy relationships, boundaries and addressing the AIDS issue.
Morrison explained the message of the conference further.
“For example, if you’re a person of character, how are you going to live your life? A life of responsibility? A life of integrity? Then, if that’s the case, the choices you’re going to make in your life are going to be different,” Morrison said.
The highlight of Morrison’s trip was that she was able to see her niece’s relationship with God grow and see her worldview change, along with her niece’s decision to major in international development while she continues into college.