Interview with Katy Donchik
by Sr. Camille D’Arienzo
SR. CAMILLE: Katy, the head of Pax Christi Metro New York, Rosemarie Pace, presented you with its first Maloof Family Young Peacebuilder Award for the good work you do to make your world — be it at home, at school, in your neighborhood, throughout the city, our country, or overseas — a better place. That’s a lot of territory for someone so young to have traveled.
Would you please tell us what you’ve done in these far-flung places? Let’s start with the overseas experience. Did you really go to Tanzania?
DONCHIK: Tanzania was amazing. There’s no other word to describe this experience. My family and I decided to travel there through an organization called Global Volunteers. We wanted to have a charitable vacation. We wanted to be able to experience the country of Tanzania for what it really is and not simply look at the tourist areas.
SR. CAMILLE: How did you manage that?
DONCHIK: We stayed in a small village called Pommern for three weeks. It was a village comprised of brick and mud homes and red dirt roads. (I actually still have that stubborn red dirt in the shoes I wore.) Each day, we were assigned different jobs in the morning. Those jobs ranged from constructing a new latrine for the primary school to dehorning the cattle. We worked in the schools and taught the kids English while picking up a little bit of Swahili ourselves. It was amazing being able to walk from the mission house we were staying at to the small church down the road and being swarmed by little kids asking to play ball with us…