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Mission Trip Provides Different Perspective

September 28, 2012, 6:03 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Mission Trip Provides Different Perspective

A team of South Dakota business people serving the deaf in Jamaica is about to come back home. Its members have been washing feet and distributing shoes to deaf students on the Caribean Island.

If you're looking for someone who probably shouldn't have liked this service opportunity in Jamaica, Tracy Keipers of Sioux Falls is probably it.

"I don't like feet," Keipers said. "I don't like touching feet; I don't like my own feet."

So she was borderline terrified of the thought of washing strangers' feet in a foreign country before giving them shoes. But as the trip is about over, even she will come home with a report mostly positive.

"I don't know, it was intimate with that one person that I'll never forget my first feet-washing experience," Keipers said.

Mick Conlin enjoyed the experience too. He'd been to Jamaica a few times before, but wanted to see the island from a different perspective. And he did.

"Yeah, I'm very glad I came," Conlin said.

The team traveled from one end of the island to the other, distributing hundreds of shoes to students and staff at three different deaf schools.

When the Dispatch Project launched it's first team earlier this year, most of its members said they'd love to come back on another trip. And the same was said after this one.

"I'll definitely look for more opportunities like this in the future," Conlin said.

"Absolutely and I would do another mission trip in a heartbeat," Keipers said.

Despite the feet washing she first dreaded, but now cherishes and barriers such as language she and many team members are still working to overcome.

"Yesterday I told someone good turtle instead of good night," Keipers said.

And she can't wait to see what kind of small mix-ups she'll encounter on the next trip Keipers says she will take.

Their final shoe distribution earlier Friday was in Kingston, which is Jamaica's capital city. They'll fly out of there and back to the States early Saturday morning. 

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