Skaife and his wife, Laura, brought a group of Marquette
University students to Tanzania to participate in community
France, Australia, Italy ... Tanzania?
Not your typical study abroad list.
But Ryan Skaife is trying to change that.
His first order of business? The Hope in Tanzania Marquette
University Chapter, which embarked on a two-week trip to Tanzania from
Dec. 27 to Jan. 14.
The 16-hour flight delivered the group to Tanzania, one of the most
impoverished countries in the world, where students and volunteers
participated in community service projects, such as aiding
kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and getting in touch with
the local community. The group of 10 students also helped in everyday
operations at an orphanage, and spent time at the Sokoine University
of Agriculture for college credits.
The goal of the program is, "To do community service projects
in Tanzania for two weeks, become connected to the local culture and
learn about African government," Skaife says. While in the
African country, the group met Mark Green, United States ambassador to
the United Republic of Tanzania, and received a personal tour of the
embassy. They also met several Tanzanian government officials, such as
the Minister of Energy and Minerals and the Minister of Agriculture.
Skaife facilitates the program, and helps students fundraise for
the trip. "They have been fundraising all year, working at 24
Bucks games in concessions," he says. Skaife and the students
raised $28,000 of the $32,000 necessary for the trip. Final
contributions were given by Johnson Controls, Billiards Club of
America, Sun Ovens International, The Lynne Broydrick Group, Don Kim,
Gil and Lillian Boese, Club Timbuktu, as well as two Tanzanian
"Those sponsors really came to the rescue to make sure this
trip could happen for us," says Skaife.
Skaife created the program along with his wife, Laura, who is the
assistant dean of community service at Marquette. The program
culminated out of a trip the Skaifes made around the world, visiting a
small farm project in Tanzania. Developing a relationship with farmers
Eric and Karen Winson in the town of Mngeta, the Skaifes fostered a
direct tie, and self-funded the Hope in Tanzania group on their own in
The program has evolved immensely. In Spring 2007, Laura Skaife was
asked to present to students at Marquette about Tanzania, and Ryan
Skaife says, "Students were working with a school in Minneapolis,
but wanted a direct connection at Marquette or closer." Hence,
the Marquette University Chapter was born.
The trip to Tanzania will be an annual trip at Marquette
University, working with the Hope in Tanzania program. Its future is
promising, as Skaife hopes the program will become semester-long,
for-credit program at Marquette. He also hopes to open the program to
other university students, creating sister city relationships at other
universities around Milwaukee.
For more information about Hope in Tanzania, call (414) 202-8760 or
go to www.hopeintanzania.org.