Nearly Naked Mile Benefits Interfaith Medical Mission Trip to Guatemala

November 17, 2011

For the third year, Xavier University students will shed "nearly all" their clothes and/or dress Guatemala-style, despite the chill, Thursday, November 17, at 7:00 p.m., for the Nearly Naked Mile. Participants race one mile through the Xavier campus to raise funds to send 12 pre-professional health students to service in Guatemala from Dec. 31- Jan. 7. Call 513-745-3569 for information. The cost to run is $20. Shirts are $15 each.

The race begins at Bellarmine Circle. Runners race down the residential mall, touch a gate by the intramural fields, come back to pass Husman residence hall and finish back at Bellarmine Circle. Prizes will be awarded for the best costume and for the fastest male and female “Nearly Naked” runners. Given that the average person can run a mile in 10-15 minutes, the students won’t be chilly for long. Their efforts will help warm the hearts of many, however.

The 12 students will give up a week of their winter break and New Year’s Eve celebrations to serve the village of Patanatik in the Solola Lake/mountain region. Every student has committed to volunteer at least twenty hours at a free clinic upon their return.

This will be the third trip for Xavier students under Rabbi Abie Ingber, founding director of Xavier’s Office for Interfaith Community Engagement. In January 2010, he spearheaded a highly successful interfaith medical mission trip to Jamaica. In 4.5 days, the group saw 511 patients. Despite the tropical location, the volunteers spent just two hours on a beach the entire time. Most days started with a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich and were spent among old slave huts in Jamaica, seeing people who had never received any type of medical care. Six were evacuated to a hospital for immediate attention. Last year a planned trip to Haiti had to be canceled because of political unrest. The team regrouped and headed for Guatemala, where they found similar need, seeing 384 people in four clinic days and making 75 home visits over two days.

This service is by no means is it free. Ingber estimates the group needs to raise $50,000 to fly, feed and house 18 people for one week. A number of events are planned, including leaf-raking. To help the e Xavier team get to Haiti, your help is appreciated. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to Xavier University, Office of Interfaith Community Engagement, 3800 Victory Parkway ML 2120, Cincinnati, OH 45207 with checks payable to Xavier University IFCE. Please call 513-745-3569 with questions.

“Last year our students went nearly naked to help the people of Guatemala,” said Ingber, “and they will endure a few minutes of discomfort this year to help alleviate the chronic suffering of these good people. I am very proud of how this annual mega-silliness brings so much good to people in need through the work of our interfaith medical community intent on healing the world.”