In two days I’ll leave North America (for the first time ever!) to travel to Ethiopia with 11 other Oregon State student athletes where we’ll be building two homes for local families. The trip was organized through Beavers Without Borders (BWOB) in partnership with Holt International. I wanted to be a part of BWOB as soon as I heard former OSU football player, Taylor Kavanaugh, talk about his vision for an international service program for student athletes at OSU two years ago. After hearing stories from two of my teammates about previous BWOB trips to Guatemala and Macedonia I knew I HAD to sign up for the trip to Ethiopia. I’m grateful that my coaches are very supportive of the trip. I considered changing my plans after rupturing my Achilles back in December but thankfully my coach reminded me that some things (like this opportunity) are much more important than the two weeks of rehab and swinging bars that I’ll be missing.
I think it’s easy to forget about the big picture as a busy student athlete. The focus it takes to succeed in the classroom and on the competition floor creates a bubble that doesn’t include global issues. I know this trip will be very eye opening and truly change my perspective.
We’ve had multiple team meetings that have been very helpful in figuring out the necessary preparations for the trip. After our most recent meeting we went shopping to find loose fitting pants and long skirts because it’s not acceptable for the shape of a women’s leg to show. Our passports have returned with the required Ethiopian visa and we’ve all gotten our yellow fever vaccines. We’ve also been collecting gently used shoes that I’m really looking forward to distributing in Ethiopia.
Things are finally coming together. It’s the last week of the term at OSU and I’ve been having a hard time studying for finals with all the excitement and anticipation of the trip. I’m not sure about the internet connection where we’ll be staying, but I will try to post regularly about our experiences in Ethiopia. I cannot wait for this this once in a lifetime opportunity!