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Gameday Ready Ethiopia: A long trip and a rewarding day

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This week, eight UK student-athletes, along with members of the athletic department staff, are participating in a service trip to Ethiopia. On the trip are Megan Moir from women's golf, Brooke Keyes and Kayla King from women's soccer, Kayla Hartley from gymnastics, Grace Trimble from women's tennis, Kastine Evans from women's basketball, Emily Holsopple from rifle and Aubrey Lamar from softball. Each athlete was nominated by her respective head coach for this trip.  On these blog posts, you'll find the personal views of the athletes as they share their unique perspectives on their service and learnings in Ethiopia.

July 21-22, 2012

Nathan Schwake - UK Athletics Staff


As we left the Joe Craft Center on campus Saturday morning at 8:30 am, many of us were in for the longest trip of our lives. Flying through Minneapolis; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Khartoum, Sudan, we finally arrived in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, on Sunday night at almost 11 p.m. After multiple airplane meals and thunderstorms that delayed our landing into Addis by 90 minutes, we were very grateful to be to our final destination. Each of us paid $20 for our visas, we collected our baggage and prepared to spend another significant amount of time waiting to get through customs. Thanks to a very generous customs agent, we were granted a pass to the front of the line and went out to meet our hosts. Our suitcases and gear piled into a 20-passenger van and we took the (thankfully) short trip to the guest house that will serve as our home base for the week.

While our student-athletes know one another to some degree, it's been rewarding to see them already begin a bonding process that will likely last the rest of their lives. Trips like these have a way of bringing people together, experiencing another culture that is so different from our own to have a greater view of the world, themselves, and each other.

After getting a quick bite to eat placing our breakfast orders for the next morning, we shuffled off to our rooms anxious to see what Monday had in store.

July 23, 2012 - "Korah"

Megan Moir - Women's Golf

UK student-athletes Megan Moir, Brooke Keyes, Kayla King, Kayla Hartley, Grace Trimble, Kastine Evans, Emily Holsopple and Aubrey Lamar are participating in a service trip to Ethiopia this week. (Photo by Nathan Golden) UK student-athletes Megan Moir, Brooke Keyes, Kayla King, Kayla Hartley, Grace Trimble, Kastine Evans, Emily Holsopple and Aubrey Lamar are participating in a service trip to Ethiopia this week. (Photo by Nathan Golden)
As the old adage goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words".  Today we spent the day in Korah, a very poor area on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Most of the people in the area search through a nearby dump to find food for their families and make a living. We spent the day working with a community to help expand their current outdoor meeting area. The work consisted of putting up wooden beams to hold up a tarp that will keep the rain off, especially during the current rainy season. The "walls" and outer fence of the church consist of some sheet metal, which we painted with sky blue paint.

When we arrived in Korah we were immediately greeted by the pastor and a few other people who work for the church. There was one man who spoke decent English but most of the people only knew a few words. The language barrier posed some difficulty when we first arrived. Thankfully, we brought a Polaroid camera today and soon began taking pictures of a few people who were around. Most of the people there have seen their picture on a camera but they have never had a photo of themselves they could keep. It was difficult at first explaining to shake the photo and eventually a picture would appear, but once the first girl's photo developed it was an instant hit. Everyone was flocking around to have picture taken and shaking Polaroid pictures. This formed an instant bond between us all and somehow we began to communicate through these little pictures.

Photo by Nathan Golden Photo by Nathan Golden
The children are beautiful and carefree. They "helped" us paint but I'm not sure who had more paint on them by the end of the day, us or the walls! We had so much fun playing with the children and teaching them new things. Most of the kids have never seen any sports besides soccer; Aubrey started teaching a boy how to swing a "bat" - a piece of wood - and hit a plastic bottle. This event gathered about 200 hundred people around to watch! I also went on a quest to use a bathroom which was quite the experience, traveling through muddy land and small gaps in houses to a very small hole in the ground. Toilets really were a great invention and something I will not take for granted anymore.

We went to lunch with some of the men from the community and were able to hear more about the city and their work. I am overwhelmed by what God is doing in and through a few faithful men in Korah. We learned and witnessed that many of the people in the area suffer from HIV and leprosy. The leaders in Korah could not stop talking about the people from the University of Kentucky who have come to serve and love their community and what an impact those in the past (and us now) have made upon him. I have simply been overwhelmed with the acceptance, love and gratitude of the people here in Ethiopia. We are surrounded by so much pain, suffering and poverty but it is impossible not to see God at work here. These people are beautiful because they possess infectious joy, joy in spite of their circumstances and it radiates from their being.

I love these people and this country. They are so simple, their culture so different, yet they are just like me. They desire to love and serve the Lord, to love and be loved, to live a meaningful life, and to provide for their families. To the world, they may have so little to offer materially, but I know I have so much to learn from my brothers and sisters here in this foreign land. Much to learn about gratitude and hard work, thankfulness and perseverance, and most importantly much to learn about their abounding joy and love for life and those who are different than them. I am so honored and blessed to have the opportunity to serve here over the next 6 days.

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3 Comments

Awesome to see how God is working through these students to touch the world! Great blog Megan! God bless you all!

Hi,

This is an awesome thing you are doing. I would definitely love to connect with any of the athletes on this trip. I am a professional football player in the Arena Football League ( I played college ball at University of Texas, and then the University of Nevada before being drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 98 NFL draft.)

My wife and I work in Ethiopia and run a ministry that is called ATHLETES FOR THE NATIONS. It is about not only getting athletes to GO on trips to the nations, including where we serve in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, but to also use their success on the field to be significant in the iives of others.

Check out our website, and please contact us at
athletesforthenations@gmail.com

Thank you,
John Dutton

The Glory to God, but I don't think trips like this happened before Barnhart was around. I could be wrong, but I know we've done this a few years in a row now. This athletic dept certainly has its priorities in the right place.

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Recent Comments

  • bbmike: The Glory to God, but I don't think trips like this happened before Barnhart was around. I could be wrong, read more
  • John Dutton: Hi, This is an awesome thing you are doing. I would definitely love to connect with any of the athletes read more
  • Kenny V.: Awesome to see how God is working through these students to touch the world! Great blog Megan! God bless you read more