Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Carpe Diem: The Rwanda edition

About a month ago, I was approached with a unique opportunity to visit Kigali, Rwanda for a service project and I'm soooooooo super duper excited! I leave a week from Friday and have been working furiously to organize my portion of the trip. I will be traveling with fellow Stanford track teammate, Griffin Matthew, to work with the Rwanda Sports Empowerment Club (SEC) and the Village Makeover organization (a US based NGO). A few years ago, Griffin spent three months in Rwanda building their community health radio program and now her whole family has made Village Makeover a part of their lives. And I am now joining her cause.

The Rwandan Sports Empowerment Club has already established their soccer team and is working to expand to track, basketball, volleyball, and swimming. Involvement in sports can have a huge, positive impact on the life of a young child. My involvement in athletics taught me discipline, the power of teamwork, time management, and gave me a positive outlet for all of my youthful energy. The leader of the SEC, Mr. Augustin Munyandamutsa, has a vision of brining such aspects to the lives of the Rwanda youth. His desire to expand to other sports has been well received by the community, but resources are lacking. During my trip, I will be speaking with the coaches and young athletes to help them establish training regimens as well as hoping to provide a considerable gift to help get their athletes dressed for success.

Thanks to the generosity of several USATF and Stanford track and field athletes that I've been in contact with, it looks like I will be able to provide the Rwandan Sports Empowerment Club with fabulous gift of new and used track & field gear including clothes and shoes. I will be making this gift on behalf of all the athletes who have contributed to this great cause.

Donations have been sent from athletes all around the US! It's all a big messy pile at the moment, but soon I'll buy 3 suitcases to take everything over in. It's going to be awesome! Can't wait to do the final count next week. Thanks for all the support everyone!

I'm sad to have missed the whole 2011 season due to my traumatic ankle injury, but it’s been more of a positive event than I could have ever imagined. I’ve used my time off to become deeper involved with a number of volunteer opportunities and this trip to Rwanda came as an unexpected yet wonderful surprise. I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity to share with a community such as Kigali, Rwanda and to have a network of people that can help my short trip to have a greater impact. 


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Anonymous said...

Hey Erica,

I enjoyed reading your blog and your journey in Rwanda. I am glad you went there and helped folks down there.

I am from Rwanda but I've been living in the States for 9 years in Minnesota. I find it interesting all the events that happened there.

When are you planning to go back?

Anyway, I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up the good work.
God bless you indefinitely.