CANMORE – A local family with no shortage of diverse talents are packing their suitcases alongside many donation items to take with them to less-fortunate parts of the world.
The Pearson-Moldenhauer family, Lisa Pearson, Grant Moldenhauer, Logan Moldenhauer and Brodie Moldenhauer, are collecting financial donations to take with them to Ethiopia and Malawi on a two-week humanitarian trip in partnership with Canadian Humanitarian.
“I will be doing physio, Grant will be doing dentistry and the kids will be doing other stuff,” said Lisa.
“They’ll be doing stuff like helping the kids there learn English, read English, teaching them sports, so we’re collecting sports gear because the kids there have nothing.”
Lisa said Canadian Humanitarian works in specific impoverished areas of Malawi and Ethiopia, dedicating time to find where the needs are so they can help.
“They give money to the kids to allow them to go to school, buy them a school uniform and there’s certain kids in various communities that they support consistently,” she said.
“The other thing they do is this after school program where they can have a shower, sometimes it’s just a hose, but they can at least get clean and they can get a meal, often times it’s their only meal of the day.”
The family is collecting donations of equipment Lisa and Grant will need for dentistry and physiotherapy. They’ll also accept donations of various items like recreational items like sports equipment and craft materials.
Grant said Canadian Humanitarian has taken dentists to Ethiopia twice before, but never in Malawi.
“Malawi has a population, I’m not sure, over 18 million people. They have less than 50 dentists, so where we’re going they’ve never seen a dentist before, so it’s quite an undertaking to try and raise money for equipment, for supplies,” he said.
“I expect it will be quite an eye opening experience for myself and I’ve been in practice a long time.”Meanwhile, the Moldenhauer children are excited to go, though they aren’t quite sure what it’s going to be like.
“We don’t really know what to expect because for both of them [Lisa and Grant], they have a job that’s useful for the people there and for us we don’t really have any type of skill that’s maybe specific like they do,” said Logan.
“I think we’re happy to just go and help out however we can, whether that’s like trying to read English to the kids and teach them some of that stuff or setting up sports, just anything we can do to help and make life a little bit better for them.”
Brodie said she’s a dancer and is hoping to use those talents while visiting the two countries.
“We’re trying to get a bunch of dance costumes from my studio, old ones that they can dress up in and make their own dances and I can teach them some things,” she said.
“I think it’ll be really cool and they can teach me things too … We have it really easy here and I just want to help other people have a better life.”
While the family is taking some donated sports equipment and they are accepting lightly used hoodies, Lisa said money is the preferred donation.
“Rather than taking everything from here, the preference is to take money and support the local economy,” she said.As for why they’re making their family trip a humanitarian venture, Grant said the timing is just right.
“I felt like the timing was right now, this is especially nice because we can go as a family and the kids are young and I think they’ll gain way more out of it than probably even Lisa or I will, I think it’ll be a life-changing experience for them and for all of us,” he said.
To find out more about what the Pearson/Moldenhauer families trip or to donate, visit www.canadahelps.org/me/2vmT4rR.