From Africa to the Artic

Posted: May 21, 2019

Summer adventures will send Redhawks soaring across the globe

Many people spend their summer vacation relaxing, but for some Minnehaha students and teachers, summer will bring travel opportunities stretching from the arctic to Africa. Here are a few of their stories.


Four teachers – Wendy McDonald (math), Nancy Cripe (science), Diane Hallberg (music) and Mary Quello (Spanish) – are going on a pilgrimage through Northwestern Spain starting in the city of Oviedo and walking 200 miles along an established pilgrimage route, or camino, to end their journey at the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

McDonald describes a pilgrimage as a “way to have quiet time with God and respect for God” and also to experience “a physical action that takes some endurance and grit to do, and as an offering to God.”

The group is taking this voyage because it’s a challenge, to have lots of quiet time with God while praying and thinking and for the community they will be with.

The king of Spain did this pilgrimage first in the eighth century to see the bones of Saint James the Apostle, which are said to be buried at the cathedral at the end of the pilgrimage route. The king did this to pay homage to Saint James and to God.

For Cripe, this will be her third major pilgrimage in recent years. One was to Santiago de Compostela, one of the most popular and important pilgrimage sites in Christianity.

She also walked the Cammino di Assisi in Italy, following the footsteps of Saint Francis, the patron saint of Italy who was known for his love of animals and nature.

Cripe believes that pilgrimages are “a spiritual refreshment” as well as “a reset that is very uplifting.”


Freshman Tiffany Simba will be going on a missions trip to Cusco, Peru. Simba will be going alongside her church youth group from Southview SDA Church in Richfield, Minn.

Simba says the group will help in “building a three-story elementary school for children who don’t have access to local education.”

The mission trip will last 16 days. Other than building the elementary school, the youth group will go sightseeing in the city of Lima, Peru, and will be traveling to Machu Picchu, a fortified town built by the Incas on top of an Andes mountain.

Simba is hoping to “spread God into the community by building the school” and to “spend time with the kids and learn their culture while sharing our American culture.”

In general, Simba said, “we’re here for a good time, not a long time, so make the best of your summer.”


Junior Maggie Daniel and her freshman brother, Zeke, will travel with their parents to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where their father’s family is from, and to Jimma, Ethiopia, where their mother’s side of the family is from.

This will be their third family trip to Ethiopia, but it has been six years since their last trip. They will travel for about one and a half months.

Maggie wants “people to be more open to going to Africa because a lot of people associate Africa to being poor and not a beautiful place, but it is a beautiful continent.” She hopes other families will be “more opened to visit [Africa], not just do missionary work, but to vacation there, too.”


Spanish teacher Jenna Kirkwood will spend June in Madrid to “learn from [the people] and to be opened to whatever the Lord has for me.”

Kirkwood will be staying with a missionary couple she met while working there in the fall of 2017. She also lived in Spain in a college study-abroad program.

Kirkwood hopes to “give the news of the gospel to people near and far.” She is excited because, she says, she has “a heart getting to know people and their stories.”

Kirkwood finds going abroad as an interesting exercise of trusting God.

The Arctic

Senior Henry Benson will be going on a six-week canoe trip along the Coppermine River in the Arctic. The river is located between Northwest Territories and Nunavut, Canada.

Benson will be going with five others through YMCA Camp Widjiwagan. The group will be take a float plane to Yellowknife, Canada, and boat to their drop spot.

On the trip, they will be canoeing and portaging. Henry is excited for, “a really good time with his friends.” He also states it is a rare opportunity to canoe this far north.

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