“If you look Amy in the eye, she may never stop talking!”
A warm smile always cracks across my face when I hear this story. These words of caution were given to anyone who was in a rush or had somewhere to be when they happened to run into this chatty, confident little five year old.
The funny thing is, sixteen years later, my friends would probably give you the same advice.
I don’t know if it is being the youngest of five siblings, the only girl in a set of triplets, or perhaps my unquenchable curiosity, but I have always embraced the game of gab- with a rapidity that could challenge the original Gilmore Girls.
Awkward silence? I’ll fill it. Heated debate? Throw me into the fire. Need a good story? I’ve got more than a few up my sleeve. Asking a question that has no answer? There is nothing I’d rather discuss.
So, when I needed to express my unwavering desire to support victims of mass-atrocities as a part of Darfur United, I was more surprised than anyone when I came up speechless.
This is uncharted territory for me- something that I imagined would make me nervous and unsure. Yet, I have found great comfort in working with an organization that matches so beautifully with my values, goals, passions, and dreams.
The problems that keep me wide-awake at night: the horrors of genocide, starving families, the absence of education and role models for victims, the need for broader awareness and advocacy towards these causes- they are all being thoughtfully and intentionally tackled by the various programs iACT represents. How do I adequately describe a pairing that seems to quench my desperate thirst for impactful, sustainable action and understanding surrounding these frightful crimes against humanity? A cliché or analogy plainly will never suffice- and trust me- I tried.
I was first drawn to Darfur United out of my life-long love-affair with soccer. There is nothing in this world I enjoy more than short dark-green grass, the smell of my favorite pair of cleats, and the sound of twenty-two individuals pouring their heart and sweat into a game that stresses the values of cooperation, commitment, and persistence in the face of adversity. Anywhere there is a group of players and a ball, I feel as though I am among friends.
My passion for soccer is perhaps only matched by my love of learning. My education has been saturated with teachers and professors who have tirelessly answered my never-ending string of questions, entertained every single frustration I have with our world, and more than anything, made me believe that anyone can make a difference. The trust and support I have received in this learning environment has formed my passion for taking on the problems others may see as inevitable faults of our world- war, mass-murder, hate, corruption, power. Some may call me bullheaded, others naïve, but I plan on spending the rest of my life in pursuit of limiting these catastrophes and aiding their victims. Education has opened the world for me, and I intend to spend my life giving back to the world.
Traveling to Darfur United’s Team Training Camp in Ostersund, Sweden on October 20 is a perfect unification of my passion for soccer, education, and human rights, aspects of my life that have brought me to tears of joy and vexation. I hope that this trip gives me an avenue to act on my hunger to serve others, along with teaching me skills and knowledge that can only be gained outside of a textbook. Above all, I humbly just want to play my part, big or small, to help create a glimmer of hope in the lives of the millions of Darfur people who have been dehumanized and forgotten by much of the world.
While my friends may have enjoyed the serenity these past few weeks, my speechlessness is growing weary. After all, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” (MLK).
Warning: “She may never stop talking.”