Saturday marked the eighth year Wittenberg has hosted Survivor Africa, an interactive fundraiser for the Lesotho Service Trip.
The fundraiser consists of several teams competing in multiple games such as a condiment-eating relay, dizzy bat, an obstacle course, blindfolded dodge ball and a water bucket relay race.
Scott Rosenbeg, professor of history, started the event to raise money for Lesotho.
“Lesotho is one of the 40 poorest countries,” Rosenberg said. “It has 160,000 orphan children in a country of two million; that is astounding. It [also] has a 24 percent HIV/AIDS rate; that means almost one in four people.”
Other faculty and staff addressed the event’s relevance.
“This fundraiser is important because it shows students you can have fun and raise money that will go a long way,” said Sarah Jurewicz, women’s basketball coach. “It’s also important because it shows how a community can come together and participate in something that brings hope to others.”
Participants feel the same.
“If I have to take a mouth full of relish for a kid to have a home, I’ll do it,” said sophomore Kelsey Mack.
Senior Mary-Anne White, a former trip participant and Gamma Phi Beta team member, said, “it’s really important to raise awareness about the problems the Basotho face. Not everyone understands why we go on the trip, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t participate and learn here.”
“Survivor is important because sometimes you don’t understand the problem, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a part of the solution,” said Megan White, senior, also a former trip goer and participant on the Delta Gamma team.
The money raised during this year’s event will be enough to pay for the materials for the next trip to build a house for one family. Gamma Phi Beta’s team took first place in this years competition.
“The winner of the second season of ‘Survivor,’ and the first in Africa, Ethan Zohn, agreed to come help, so we modeled the event to be based on [the show],” Rosenberg said.
Since 2003, Rosenberg has been taking groups of Wittenberg students to Lesotho, the country in which he did his Peace Corps service during college. The groups work with a number of in-country organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity Lesotho, to build houses, plant fruit trees, build chicken coops and a variety of other projects, in the effort to make meaningful sustainable change.
“Lesotho is my second home,” Rosenberg said on Friday at a ceremony in Koch, to recognize his newly-awarded honorary seat on the Lesotho Council of Ministers. He was presented a royal decree signed by King Letsie III, and his official diplomatic credentials by the Lesotho Ambassador to the US, Molapi Sebantane.
“This is a demonstration of love of the Basotho to you,” Sebantane said, while handing Rosenberg his official diplomatic identification card. As part of his duties, Rosenberg “will be taking care of all embassy business in Ohio,” and will act “as a representative of his majesty’s government,” according to Sebantane.
Upon receiving his credentials, Rosenberg simply stated, “this is for Lesotho.”
Sebantane was also in attendance at Survivor Africa, and found it “cool.”
“It is nice to see all you do for Lesotho,” Sebantane said. “We play some of these games in Lesotho. It shows games can cross nationalities and borders.”