University of Southern California

OUR BUSINESS WRITING CLASS TOOK A FIELD TRIP -- TO MOZAMBIQUE
December 4, 2009 • by Kayla Wolonsky

Dear Friends of Marshall:

It all began in Professor Sandra Chrystal's Business Writing Class. Each year, her students hone their writing skills by drafting business documents for nonprofit organizations. When some students chose to write about organizations based in Africa, Professor Chrystal announced, "Let's go to Africa."

Our assignment: learn about the culture, people, and economy of Mozambique, meet with various nonprofit organizations to identify an area of need and a potential project, and write the supporting business documents to help make that project a reality.

Prof. Chrystal's ideas and hard work, combined with financial support from the Marshall School, made it possible for me to walk through the markets of Maputo, Mozambique, and into the doors of Reencontro. Reencontro uses micro-enterprise, small scale loans, and other projects to begin to lift people out of poverty, specifically those diagnosed with or orphaned by AIDS. They have already helped over 7,000 children. When we walked into their current tiny, cramped headquarters, we were greeted by song and hugs. Everywhere our group went in Mozambique, we were welcomed and appreciated.

During that trip, I learned a lot about the culture of Mozambique, international development, business, and the challenges that third world countries face. But I also learned about myself and the importance of understanding other cultures and building relationships in order to learn about different perspectives. I helped write a plan for the development of a computer skills program that will better position those whom Reencontro supports to secure employment.

I thought this experience might be my first and last encounter with Africa. But I was wrong. I will be returning this spring to South Africa to spend a semester in Cape Town.

I hope you'll join me in planting seeds of growth at Marshall. Your gift can support more student trips -- to Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe -- and help not just Marshall, but also the world.

Yours truly,
Kayla Wolonsky