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Faces in the Crowd: Sophia Lauer

Conor Toland, Contributor

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While many Nashoba students spent the past summer visiting the beach or family, Nashoba junior, Sophia Lauer, spent her summer visiting Tanzania, a country in eastern Africa, to learn about its culture and environment.

The idea was initiated when her family began looking for gap year activities. Upon searching, they came across “Rustic Pathways”, a company which provides teens with community service opportunities in various countries around the world. Offering many locations in which one can take a trip, Sophia claims that she was interested in a trip to Tanzania, as she needed community service hours and had always loved animals.

After embarking on the 16 day trip, Sophia quickly learned that there was more to the trip than seeing cute monkeys and obtaining service hours. Though she did get up close and personal with the birds, bugs and monkeys of the region, she was provided with various experiences that opened her eyes to the Tanzanian lifestyle and culture.

Sophia went on to further describe an illuminating experience she had from camping on the Kigoma beach with vervet monkeys. “My tent had a hole in it,” she recalled. “Two days in a row I woke up at six in the morning to a wet mattress. I had to move everyone’s things out of the open space because I was the only one awake. Learning about animals ended up taking a back seat to what I learned about life for other people.”

Looking back on the trip, Sophia describes how the trip gave her a new gratitude for what she has in life, and an appreciation of nature and world cultures. “I’m a lot more thankful for what I have,” she commented.

The goal of the Rustic Pathways program is to focus on “providing quality travel and service programs for students and educators”… “and redefining how to integrate education, travel, and philanthropy in a world where all people are connected by a shared humanity” (www.RusticPathways.com). 

To learn more about Rustic Pathways and how you can get involved visit: wwww.RusticPathways.com

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Faces in the Crowd: Sophia Lauer