Vanderbilt Athletics

Video: Commodores in Tanzania

Nov. 18, 2013

Commodores in Tanzania: Blogs & Photos

In July 2013, the Vanderbilt Athletic department partnered with Soles4Souls to send 26 student-athletes and staff on a 10-day journey to deliver shoes to those in need in Tanzania, Africa. The international service trip was the first for Vanderbilt athletics in which the student-athletes solely provided service and did not participate in any scheduled athletic competition during the trip.

Winning a national team championship would be the ultimate thrill for me but nothing at Vanderbilt will ever have the profound impact on my life that the Tanzania trip has made. It was an eye-opening experience; we were treated as heroes when we didn't deserve to be. A pair of shoes became the best Christmas morning ever.

Barca Brandon Barca (Archive)

I'm blessed to have been chosen as one of 26 Commodores to represent Vanderbilt and thankful to David Williams for giving us this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve others. Being a part of this journey stands as a defining moment in my life. It was worth every penny. Every mile. Every second.

I wish every Commodore could feel the spiritual sensation of when we arrived at our first orphanage in Kigoma. The music, the love, the raw emotion displayed by children living in poverty circulated in my soul at a feverish pace, and only grew stronger with each visit. Call it an epiphany. Tears of joy mighty enough to build a community. Grief painful enough to break down your foundation.

It's a power too deep to translate, but it's a moment we will share forever. That's what it truly feels like to be a champion.


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