July 19, 2013
Grant Ramsay is one of more than 20 Commodore student-athletes and staff on a 10-day journey with Soles4Souls to deliver shoes to those in need in Tanzania, Africa. The international service trip is the first for Vanderbilt athletics in which the student-athletes are solely providing service and not participating in any scheduled athletic competition during the trip. Ramsay gives his perspective on day 5 of this unique experience.
Tanzania Journal: Trip Archive | Day 4 | Days 1-3
We started Friday in Kigoma by walking three kilometers to a children's school for our first shoe distribution of the day. After concluding our second day with Soles4Souls, everyone seemed to be anticipating the joy to come once we arrived at the school to begin our work.
After what seemed to be a rather surprisingly short walk, we arrived at the front entrance of the school and made our way to the back of the building where the children were waiting for us. A moment I will never forget is seeing the sight of the children and the expression of happiness and joy that covered their faces. Throughout the entire morning, I felt as though I was just as joyful, just as happy to interact with them as they were with me.
Each child and teacher was fitted for their new shoes and when that was complete, it was time for everyone's favorite part of the day: playtime. As I walked back outside I blew up a beach ball and then held it up in the air, almost as a landmark for all the children to see. Little did I know almost all the children actually did see it. We chased that beach ball, kicked it and threw it in every which way possible; it was simply serene. It was such a basic action, but it brought so many feelings of positivity that I cannot even formulate words for every emotion I felt that morning.
Later that afternoon we were surprised by our guide, Bernard, with a trip that he had in store for all of us. We drove all the way down to the shoreline of a fishing village, where he explained to us that the main income of Kigoma was the exportation of fish that were caught out of Lake Tanganyika. I remember standing there after walking all the way down to where the water met the sand. Looking out upon all the boats and observing this sight was moving. I was moved. A culture of people living so simply yet having no complaints really made me rethink my own life. The tranquility of this place and seeing this made me feel even more appreciative of the things I have.
I will never forget this day. The emotions I felt, the sights I saw, and the things I did, they will stay with me forever.
Brandon Barca's Day 5 Photos