Aricquel Payne Studies Abroad in Africa

For immediate release - 8/16/2013 - #011
Aricquel Payne Studies Abroad in Africa

LYNCHBURG, VA - Lynchburg College junior volleyball player Aricquel Payne recently returned from a study abroad trip to Uganda and Kenya. What follows is an entry she wrote about her experience.

"About a month ago, I took a trip through the Lynchburg College Study Abroad program to Uganda and Kenya. I had the best time of my life and learned so much not only about the culture in these African countries, but about myself as well.
The team I went with was only 10 people, so I had a lot of opportunity to be involved and participate in many different activities. The main goal of the study abroad was soccer training and teaching public health. We went to various slums in Kampala, Uganda and taught children hand washing techniques as well as different soccer drills. Even though I had never played soccer in my life, somehow I ended up being the goalkeeper in a handful of soccer games. My defensive volleyball skills actually came in handy because whenever someone would shoot the ball towards the goal, I would just put my platform out and pop the ball straight up into the air, which garnered some laughs from the locals, but it worked fine! I think it's pretty cool to say that my soccer debut was in Africa.

Surprisingly, I saw a lot of volleyball in Uganda and Kenya. When we went to watch a soccer game at a local university, I met some girls who played for the university. They were having practice on their outdoor concrete courts, which was something I had never seen before. I watched a little bit of their practice, which was ran by the captain, and saw that they were doing a lot of similar things that we do at our practices at Lynchburg College. There was also a men's team practicing and they were crazy athletic I was actually kind of jealous. In Kenya, I learned that the Women's National Volleyball Team wins the African Cup for volleyball virtually every year and that a lot of Kenyans actually love volleyball! When we visited a school in the Mukuru slum in Nairobi, I had the opportunity to play with some of the kids, which was really awesome.
Although this trip was full of positive highlights, some parts were very sobering. An example of this would be the children. Even though a lot of the children were in tattered clothing and had visible health issues, they were almost always happy and it did not seem like they let their circumstances get the best of them, which is so inspiring and uplifting. My favorite part of the trip was going to the Masai Mara Safari Lodge. It was the most beautiful place in the world and it was a really nice way to end the trip because after seeing a lot of suffering and blue situations, we got to see God's glory manifested in the most amazing way possible. I like to say that the Masai reserve was God "flexing his muscles" and showing us an example of his indescribable might as well as his ability to do literally anything.

During the trip I was trying to see how I should go about assimilating myself back into my everyday life, but I realized that the whole point of this trip was to not go back to the way I was before. My trip to Africa has changed me for the better and I have been and will continue to think about the lessons I have learned and the people I have met every day because they have had such a great and significant impact on my life."

The volleyball team opens up the 2013 season August 30-31 at the Christopher Newport Tournament.