Samantha's Story: An African Heart

Samantha Story

When I was younger, I always imagined what my life would be like when I finally hit my 20’s, yet here we are, and I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be.  When you’re younger, you imagine that by the time you are 21, you will be madly in love with the best boyfriend ever, getting straight A’s, and have your dream job lined up for when you graduate next year. But here I am, 21 years old, and none of that is true. The one thing I do know for sure though is that I have finally figured out where my passion lies, and at this point in my life, I am okay with that. 

 

The first time I went to Africa I was 17. I had to beg my mom to let me go, and the only reason she finally let me was because she was coming with me. We were going to work in an orphanage that some friends of ours had told us about. When we landed in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, I was immediately blown away by the kindness of everyone around me. It was on that first day at the orphanage that I knew that this was EXACTLY what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life. I was helping these kids learn, and just giving them the attention that they so desperately needed. I stayed for four weeks, and on the day that I left, I cried a majority of the plane ride home. All I could think about was when could I go back to continue to help these kids.

 

When I got back home, I immediately jumped back into senior year festivities at my high school. I loved hanging out with my friends before we all left for college, but something inside me was nagging me about going back to Africa.  A few years went by, and even though school picked up that feeling inside me never left. In 2017, I was asked to be on the board of a non-profit started by some friends, called the Uhuru Watoto Project. This project fundraises money to send girls to school in where they are provided room and board. Being on the board, they asked me to go and visit some of the girls that we were sponsoring, and I could not be more excited to return to Africa.

 

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 Orphanage on first trip to Tanzania. 

Orphanage on first trip to Tanzania. 

When I got there, I was treated like royalty. People sang and danced for my mom and me when we got off the plane, and it was very overwhelming. Once things calmed down, I got to know the most amazing people in an incredible place. They inspired me every day because no matter how poor these people were, or how little they had, they were so happy about life. The feeling of purpose returned, and I knew that this was my calling.

 

Fast forward to today, and once again, I am in a completely different place than I thought I would be, but honestly, that’s the beauty of it all. I leave next week for Africa part 3, but I am going to be working with a company called Innovation Africa, which is a company that provides water by tapping into the aquifers under the ground, and it is 100% run by solar power. I couldn’t be more excited to go back to where my passion lies.

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If you want to learn more about any of the organizations that I have talked about above, please visit the links below, if you’d like to donate to help my mission please do, any amount helps!

http://www.icampaign-innoafrica.org/water4mercy

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Meet Samantha

Hey guys! My name is Sam, and I am from Clearwater Florida. I am 21 years old and am a junior that attends the University of Florida. I am on the rowing team, and couldn't imagine my life without it.  I am majoring in sports management. However the career path that I want to go on has nothing to do with that, but I have learned that is entirely okay. Being in my early 20's has taught me how to defend myself, and stick up for what I believe in.

Want to keep up with her while she's in Africa? Check out posts at Water 4 Mercy or follow her on Instagram