Religion & Nature in Kilimanjaro

February 28, 2017

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I am pleased to announce the development of an international seminar for post-college age adults. Modeled after the highly successful student immersion programs of the Institute, these adult seminars will focus on direct experience and group reflection about faith and culture in the countries of study.

For more than a decade, the IGSOR student seminars have taken college students to India, Mexico, El Salvador, the Philippines, Argentina, and Tanzania. These seminars have enabled the participants to visit "off-the-road" places that few North Americans ever experience: gang-ridden sections of Latin American cities, AIDS clinics in Eastern Africa, a holy mountain in the Philippines, Pentecostal churches and the graves of martyrs in El Salvador. Many of these trips also include occasions to witness wildlife and natural wonders. Students consistently report that these seminars are the most transformative learning experiences of their college career.

Now IGSOR is bringing these transformational seminars to adults from within the broader community of Buffalo and beyond. The IGSOR seminars for adults, entitled "Road Less Traveled Pilgrimages," will feature 10 day trips led by Canisius faculty, leaders from the Buffalo community, and experts from the host countries. As with the student seminars, these pilgrimages will focus on the study of faith and culture and will be grounded in direct experience.

The first "Road Less Traveled Pilgrimage" is scheduled for the summer of 2017 to Tanzania.

The first IGSOR "Road Less Traveled Pilgrimage" will take place in Tanzania, July 5-15, 2017. Participants will stay in the village of Marangu in a hotel on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro that was originally a colonial era coffee plantation. The hotel is run by a British family and occupies a large, lush estate with beautiful flowers and amazing bird life. Lodging will be in simple but comfortable double occupancy cottages and participants will feast on the fine food in the hotel's dining hall. The estate has a pool and an attractive bar for evening socializing.

The program includes presentations by experts in religion and culture among the Chagga people. Among these presenters will be the son of a Chagga king, a local Islamic imam, the Marangu Lutheran Bishop, and a scholar who will talk on religion in Tanzania. Participants will take short walks among the natural beauty of Marangu and visit with people in the community, travel to hospitals, clinics, schools and orphanages, visiting churches and mosques in the area. Each evening will include a time for group reflection in the main hall of the hotel. A major highlight of the seminar will be an overnight safari to two different national parks to view African wildlife. Lodging on the safari will be in a safe and well-appointed camp provided by a Tanzanian safari company. On the last day, participants will visit the city of Moshi where there will be opportunities for shopping in the local market. Participants who wish may also opt for an opportunity to hike part way up Kilimanjaro to the first climbers hut at 11,000 feet. This is a semi-rigorous hike that will take most of a day.

For more information, contact Timothy Wadkins, PhD, director of IGSOR, at 716.888.2824 / wadkins@canisius.edu.