By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
---- — OSKALOOSA — The members of the OskIowa Chapter of People to People got to meet and have lunch with several William Penn University international students Saturday and learn about their homeland.
Six Rwandan students joined the group for lunch at William Penn Saturday and shared a little about their experiences as they go to college about a half a world away from home.
The purpose of People to People is “to promote interaction and understanding on a one-to-one basis,” OskIowa Chapter President Pat Ancell said. President Dwight D. Eisenhower started People to People as a way to foster world peace. If more people know each other personally, their governments are less likely to go to war against each other, she added.
The local People to People chapter meets every other month between September and May, Ancell said.
After lunch, students and chapter members stood up and introduced themselves to the group.
Christian Uwimana is a sophomore who is studying information technology and business management.
“I don’t play any sports here and the weather is horrible,” he said.
Eric Nkuriza is studying industrial technology and applied mathematics.
“I used to play soccer here,” he said.
Ariane Imulinde Sugi is a pre-medicine major.
“I am enjoying the weather here,” she said. “People are so nice here.”
Esther Cecilia Lwakabamba is a sophomore pre-law major. She also is the president of the William Penn University One World Club.
“I love to talk,” she said.
“I like Iowa,” she said. “It’s a real nice place. I love meeting people from different places.”
Lwakabamba said she is not the only member of her family who has attended college in Iowa. She has three siblings who also attended college in the state.
Clarisse Mucyo is a freshman who is studying biology.
She said the weather and the food are things that are difficult to get used to.
“I enjoy the people here. They help us,” she said.
Mucyo said she would like to be a doctor or pediatrician when she is done with her education.
Pacis Innocent Bana is studying software engineering and business management.
“I like everything here,” he said. “I don’t like the weather. I fell down on ice and I didn’t know I’d do that,” he added.
Ancell said the OskIowa chapter has hosted several groups of people from around the world.
“We’ve had international visitors from Russia, France and Central Asia,” she said. They have come to Iowa to learn about agriculture and medicine, she added.
Chapter member Linda Wolf said a graduate student group from Central Asia visited Oskaloosa to learn about environmental issues.
The Central Asian students were interested in water treatment and sewage disposal, chapter member Jerry Wolf added.
“We surprise people with how much small-town Iowa has to offer,” Ancell said.
The OskIowa Chapter of People to People have celebrated its 46th anniversary. During the club’s 40th anniversary in 2007, then-member Margaret Stoltzfus won one of two international awards People to People granted that year, Jerry Wolf said.
Ancell said the chapter is always looking for new members to join the organization.
“We’re always interested in having younger members who are interested in international events,” Ancell said.
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org