Students man booth to fund trip to Haiti

Published 3:36 am Saturday, October 2, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Students from Brandywine Senior High School will be at the Apple Festival this weekend, raising money for a class trip to Haiti.
Ron Bishop's Business Economics class will be traveling to Haiti Nov. 13 through 21 to study concepts of economics in a poor country.
To raise money for the trip, the students will be raffle-off a 47-inch high definition television and two Brandywine Senior High School quilts.
Raffle tickets for the television cost five dollars for one, or $20 for five. Tickets for the quilts will be one dollar a ticket.
The group's goal of money to raise for the trip is $27,800. Friday afternoon, the group had raised approximately $16,000 since the fund raising began in August.
In contrast to the United States, which is the richest country in the world, Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
Bishop thinks that the contrast in lifestyles will be an excellent way to illustrate key economic concepts that the students will learn.
The students will learn about economic competition, shopping in open-air markets where merchants sit side by side, vying for every customer that walks by.
Students will learn that even though income tax is paid, public services like public schools, libraries, roads, and utilities are either non-existent or severely underfunded.
Bishop gave the example of what would happen if a fire occurred in a Haitian town.
While in Haiti, the group will talk to Haitian businesses about import taxes. Bishop said that many private businesses in Haiti pay for employees' children to go to school or for employees' medical care.
Bishop previously traveled to Haiti as part of missionary groups with the Free Methodist Church, located in Niles Township, from 1993 to 1995.
In 2000, Bishop presented the school board with the idea of the class trip to Haiti and thus the bi-annual class trip began.
This years group is the largest ever to partake in the trip. The first group Bishop took to Haiti consisted of 10 students and two adults and the second group was 15 students and three adults.
While in Haiti, the group will stay at the Free Methodist Mission center and visit Grace Children's Hospital and St. Vincent's School for the handicapped.
The group will also get a chance to visit the University of Notre Dame's mosquito research facility. There they will meet Father Tom Streit, the director of the center and a professor of biology at Notre Dame.
The facility is the world's leading research center for mosquito-borne disease such as malaria, dengue, and Lymphatic Filariasis or elephantiasis, according to Bishop.
Elephantiasis is the enlargement of limbs and the trunk or head area due to parasitic worms which are transmitted by mosquitoes.
The students will also get to observe an elephantiasis surgery while at the facility.
In addition to the raffle, souvenirs from an August trip to Haiti, taken by Ron and his wife, Ginny, are for sale. The group is also selling a savings book with coupons from local restaurants.
Saturday, Oct. 9 from 4 to 8 p.m., the group will be holding a community chili supper at the Community Evangelical Free Church, 120 E. Bertrand Road.
Tickets will cost five dollars for pre-sale and six dollars at the door. Tickets for children eight and under will cost three dollars.