June 25, 2010

Kerry Hamill Blogs from Service Trip in Africa

Kerry Hamill is a junior psychology major on the women's lacrosse team at Yale. She and Mara Trionfero, a drug and alcohol counselor at the University of Notre Dame, are spending their summer on an international service trip coaching lacrosse and working with vulnerable children in Uganda, East Africa. They are working with Fields of Growth, a non-profit organization based out of Notre Dame, Ind., and blogging about their experience. Visit fieldsofgrowth.org for more information. 

Hello from Kkindu Village, just outside of Masaka, Uganda!! 

          Mara and I are about 2 weeks into our trip and have already done and seen some life changing things. The villagers have welcomed us with such warmth and hospitality that it has quickly begun to feel like a home away from home. Valuable lessons have already been learned by both Mara and myself, like don't ride your bike over the coffee beans that are drying in the sun because a wipe-out is inevitable, and never drop your keys into the latrine hole because you will never see them again (I'm sad to report we speak from experience on both accounts). We've been working very hard at perfecting our Luganda, the local language here, and our vocabulary is growing slowly but surely everyday! We spent our first few days in Kampala, the capitol city. While there, we visited the wonderful children at the primary school in the Twekembe slum project. We also spent time at the Mother Kevin house, a program dedicated to caring for orphaned and disabled children around the town of Nkokonjeru. We arrived here in Kkindu last Saturday and were immediately greeted with a welcoming mass and performances by the children's choir.

          Yesterday marked the first day of lacrosse training! I spent the morning working with 2 classes at the Kkindu secondary school. The kids could not have been more receptive!!! They were so excited to learn such a foreign game and proved to be very fast learners. With the basic technique of cradling and groundballs conquered, it will be on to the art of catching and throwing next week! Tomorrow I will begin work with the children at the HOPEFUL village primary school and on Monday, will be starting at the KKindu primary school.

          I cannot begin to explain the excitement I've already experienced from seeing children, big and small, get the same thrill from lacrosse that I do. Coming from Baltimore, I've grown up with lacrosse simply being a way of life. Now, I have the privilege of spreading that sport to kids on the other side of the world as I help them develop their skills and subsequent love for the game.

          We both feel very blessed to be here, as we learn what exactly it means to be part of a global community- one where people from all races and origins can work together as one cooperative unit. Whether it's through lacrosse, bead making, or even a dance party with the children to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" (yup, that happened), we are developing beautiful relationships that will only result in positive growth from here. In the words of the children's choir, we can all come together as, "One Love. One Heart. One Village."

- Kerry and Mara

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