Local student heading to Africa to help out
Friday, Aug 12, 2011 06:00 am
She’s only 18 years old, but Kirsten Emmott is already on her way to making a difference in the world.
The Irricana native recently graduated from Beiseker Community School and will be pursuing an International Development diploma at the Okanagan College in Kelowna.
“I’ve always wanted to work with developing countries and I’ve always had an interest in helping people,” Emmott said.
According to her mother, Lorri Laface, who’s a community development team leader with the City of Airdrie, Emmott’s interest in helping others dates back to when she was a young child.
“When she was younger, I asked her what she wanted to be,” Laface said. “She said ‘I don’t know, but I want to help people.’ She sees the world in a much bigger picture for her age. She’s very passionate and enthusiastic.”
Just after she finishes her first year of college, Emmott will be able to put her studies to good use and gain some field experience. She’s part of a missionary group that will be travelling to Tanzania next summer. The mission is run through St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Airdrie and travels to Africa every three years. The group will spend two months drilling wells and setting up windmills to help provide clean water to the area.
“We also have a school there that was built when the program first started (in 1976). It’s a bit rundown, so we’re going to fix it up, and we’ll spend two weeks with children who have AIDS and help dispense medication,” Emmott said.
Laface admits that she was hesitant when Emmott expressed her interest in the mission trip, but the fact that the mission was run out of St. Paul’s eased her nerves.
“There are so many ways to go over there and do the things (the mission will do),” she said. “I wanted to make sure the way she went was safe. It’s not the reality she’s used to.”
Emmott originally wanted to go on the mission trip alone, even after Laface offered to go with her, but Emmott changed her mind. Laface is now waiting to be confirmed as one of the trip’s chaperones.
According to Emmott, the mission trip to Tanzania is only the first in many that she plans to go on. She also hopes to travel to India, as well as Mexico to visit orphanages.
“I want to travel the world,” she said. “That’s my plan: volunteer in the summer and go to school in the fall.”
The cost to travel with the mission is $4,000, and Emmott has been working three jobs this summer to pay for the trip. She recently worked at the library in Irricana, at a children’s summer camp and the post office. It’s expensive, but a worthy cause, she said.
“It’s kind of a karma thing,” Emmott said.
“I feel the need to give back because we’re so gifted with everything that we have over here.”