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Football players to tackle service projects in orphanages, schools during Tanzania trip

Drake University football players will paint, pound and plant their way into the future of Tanzania when they travel to the country for the first-ever game of collegiate American-style football this summer.

The Global Kilimanjaro Bowl on May 21 sets the stage for a series of service projects in partnership with the Bulldog’s on-field competitor from Mexico, the CONADEIP All-Stars.

A total of 69 players from Drake have committed to the trip, where they will work to build and repair schools and orphanages in and around the villages of Moshi and Arusha. Iowa Resource for International Service, known as IRIS, is coordinating the service projects and has a list of current projects.

A young lady from the village of Mbguni, Tanzania, shows her enthusiasm for the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl.

“These volunteer projects will give the student-athletes a chance to get out of the city and experience Tanzanian culture firsthand in Moshi,” said Del Christensen, IRIS’s executive director. “With more than a hundred able-bodied young men from Drake and CONADEIP, we are sure to make a lasting impact not only on the ground but also in the hearts of all involved.”

During the trip, which runs May 17 to June 1, student-athletes are set to:

• Build a girls’ dormitory at Kitaa Hope Orphanage, where children who live there are between 4 and 12 years old and have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS.

• Interact with children at the Mkombozi Centre for Street Children, where students receive literacy, health and human rights education.

• Repair buildings, clean up grounds and assist with gardening at Safe Haven Orphanage, which houses 45 orphans and has the capacity to take in up to 80 orphans.

• Install window shutters, build a new room for a nursery and interact with students at Shaurimoyo Primary School for the Disabled, where students are divided into the following groups: slow learners, hyperactivity, autism, Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy.

• Build a teacher’s house at Tema Secondary School. Teachers currently must walk to the school, which is located in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

• Build a new classroom at Bridge Nursery School, which currently has two teachers and 11 pupils aged 3 to 5 years old. Students learn mathematics, art, singing, stories and games.

• Repair walls and paint three dilapidated classrooms at Mawenzi Secondary School. The school is one of many high schools in the town of Moshi.

The trip culminates in a group summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Additional financial support for the trip is still needed. The cost per player is $4,000. Family, friends and sports fans can also book a spot on the trip. See the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl website for more information on travel packages and details on how to contribute.