July 4, 2018

Adventist Students Will Help Build School in the Amazon Jungle

Kimi-Roux James, ADRA News & Adventist Review

More than 200 students from universities across North and South America will soon embark on the first extreme adventure project sponsored by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) on July 8, 2018. They will spend two weeks this summer with no wi-fi, sleeping in hammocks on a boat on the Amazon River.

ADRA has collaborated with seven North American Adventist universities, including Andrews University, Kettering College, La Sierra University, Loma Linda University,Pacific Union College, Oakwood University, and Walla Walla University, to kick off its first-ever ADRA Connections Extreme event. ADRA Connections is ADRA’s global volunteer program that allows service-minded individuals to experience the mission of ADRA firsthand and make a difference in the world.

This year, the ADRA Connections team and more than 80 student volunteers from North America-based Adventist universities will travel to the Amazon to help finish the Adventist Technical School of Massauri, or ETAM, in Brazil. ETAM is a technical school composed of 20 buildings. An additional 100 student volunteers from the Centro Universitário Adventista de Sao Paulo in Brazil will also collaborate on the building project. The school, which opened informally in 2016, is the first of its kind to be built for the community and will be completed in July 2018 with the help of the student volunteers and ADRA.

Student volunteers will help to complete classrooms, a dormitory, a cafeteria, missionary housing, and a library. An inauguration ceremony will be held toward the end of the trip, marking the official opening of the school. Forty-four ETAM students, ages 5-14, will soon receive their education for the first time in the concrete buildings.

“Through ADRA Connections Extreme, the student volunteers will learn about ADRA and will explore the world like never before,” said ADRA Connections manager Adam Wamack. “In Brazil, they will work on projects that involve painting, ceramics, and furniture assembling. There will also be no wi-fi connectivity, and students will sleep on hammocks on the boat during their stay, so it will be interesting to see how students cope.” Wamack added that more trips will be offered in the future and will be opened to volunteers of all ages.

Students who have been on prior ADRA Connections trips have praised the program and expressed how meaningful the experience was for them. “It was a unique experience living in the boat for ten days—one I will never forget!” said Arusha.

Andy, another student taking part in one of the ADRA Connections projects, concurred. “The trip opened my eyes to the needs of other people, and [now] I feel like I can make a difference,” he said.