By Brooke Ortale | UTAMavs.com
ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington Student Development Specialist Tim Kennedy and Track and Field members Simba Walker-Williams and Martin Lopez spent two weeks in Uganda volunteering with the Musana Community Development Organization.
While representing UTA proudly, Kennedy, Walker-Williams and Lopez worked with the MCDO for over 200 hours working with and donating to those in need.
Upon their return to Arlington, the three reflected on their experience in Uganda. Below are recaps of the trip in their own words.
Our student-athletes did a great job of serving while in Uganda and having a positive attitude the whole time there. They volunteered in a lot of areas at Musana Community Developmental Organization (MCDO). They volunteered at the farm (planting and watering vegetables, plowing the fields and feeding the animals), at the bakery (where they baked cookies, flat bread and packed popcorn in small bags to be sold), at the arts and craft room (they learned how to make scarfs, laptop covers, oven mittens), they went with Musana’s social workers to do home visits of the sponsor students at Musana (That was an “eye-opening experience” because they got to see the challenging living conditions of some of the students at Musana) and they did activities with the students at Musana. Our student-athletes volunteered 200 hours while at MCDO, they donated over 400 toiletries (that was collected by all of our student-athletes over the school year, donated clothes and shoes and donated $1000 that will be used to purchase equipment for Musana Community Health Center.
"If you only do what you can do you will never be more than you are now." That quote speaks volumes for the people of Uganda and more so the kids at Musana. I spoke with a couple kids throughout the trip and they were telling me their aspirations and I was sitting there amazed at what they wanted to be. Doctors, lawyers, civil engineers and I looked at what kids here in America are thinking about at that age, being a professional athlete. It really blew my mind because these are exposed to so little but dream so big and here at home we're exposed to so much but focus in on so little. I feel like that's what this trip was all about for me, taking what I've been exposed to whether it be television, movie, etc. and putting it face to face with reality and experiencing what the people of Uganda go through. If I had to tell an audience of people one thing from this trip, it would be "Your lens is far greater than most of the world's lens and yet your focus is so minute. Don't let what you see dictate what you know. Don't let an app, news station, or word of mouth be your source of information go and see for yourself." Be the 2 percent that makes it, not the 98 that dream about it and say that should have been me.
This trip to Uganda was a completely great experience and opportunity to serve. I feel extremely blessed to have been able to make this journey and to be able to put a tiny grain of salt in the huge movement and work that Musana is doing over in Uganda. This trip has definitely challenged me to serve more and with more heart. The lessons I learned were valuable, and the moments I had, unforgettable. I hope that I am able to encourage and inspire others to serve those in need.
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