Whenever we return from a service trip, we are often met with genuine inquiry about how it was, what the people we like, how the kids responded to us being there, or things of this nature. We have been extremely fortunate to always be able to respond with how wonderful everything has been, but it can be very hard to put it all into words. Something that many don’t realize regarding service work is the extreme emotional impact it can have on the volunteers. While traveling, we fill every waking minute with projects and activities. Your mind rarely has time to pause and let everything sink in. It really isn’t until we return and take some time to debrief that we are able to grapple with all that we saw and felt. On our recent trip to Kenya, this was no exception. Each day carried its own weight of attempting to understand and fully comprehend the struggles of the people and communities we worked with and the gnawing question of- how can we help?
Beginning at about the age of 8, I began to attend UKSD street soccer programs that were held in a small gym, with only a few people that would show up. I still continue to participate in the free of charge programs like street soccer, futsal, and beach soccer to this day. These programs have evolved from a small gym setting to huge crowds around a basketball court on a Tuesday night. These programs began to include lessons such as personal care, environmental care, and awareness about substance abuse. They were not only a place to play soccer and learn about important life lessons, but they are also a place that allowed me to create so many new friendships and relax and enjoy the game.
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