Summer Smiles

Amy Schlauder recently traveled to Zambia to work with orphaned children.

BYU setter Amy Schlauder recently traveled to Zambia for three weeks to work with orphaned children. The following is her account of her experience.

For three weeks in June, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Lusaka, Zambia, in south-central Africa. I volunteered through a humanitarian organization out of American Fork, called Mothers Without Borders (http://www.motherswithoutborders.org). It's a great organization, run by great people, doing great things. I had a remarkable experience, and I will forever be changed by my time spent in Zambia.

The purpose of Mothers Without Borders (MWB) is to provide hope to orphaned and vulnerable children throughout the world. Zambia's children are particularly vulnerable because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic sweeping through the country. As the children's HIV-infected parents die, they are left as orphans, often struggling to survive. It didn't take much time for me to fall in love with these children, and through their eyes, I began to see some of the real problems in Africa.

While in Zambia, the MWB group conducted medical screenings; worked on building projects; and played with, taught and loved the Zambian children. Every day was wonderful, but I especially loved being with the children. They really touched my heart when they sang songs about death, hunger and HIV/AIDS taking over their country. I'll never forget a line to one of their songs, when they cried out, "God, why did you create me?" I hope to remember these little ones and the hard lives they live every day. I'm starting the process of figuring out how I can serve them, in some way, throughout my life, instead of just three weeks during my summer break.

Prior to the trip, my BYU coaches suggested I bring our team's old volleyball's in my suitcase. To say the least, they were a hit in Zambia! None of the children had ever seen a volleyball before, and I had so much fun teaching them how to pass, set and hit. Playing with the children was one of my very favorite memories of the trip. In each village we went to, we usually got an intense game going, often using a clothesline for a net. The young girls in particular loved learning, even if they played with babies strapped on their backs. I know that I'll think of them from now on every time I see a BYU volleyball. I'm so grateful that introducing them to the game I love made a few moments of their difficult lives a little happier. As we played together, the children's beautiful smiles reminded me of yet another reason why I love playing volleyball for BYU.

-- Amy Schlauder

CLICK HERE to read more about Schlauder's experience on NCAASports.com.

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