UNCP's Savannah Bean reflects on humbling mission trip to Kenya

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Savannah Bean
UNCP junior Savannah Bean spent her summer volunteering during a mission trip to Kenya

An unselfish player on the volleyball court, UNC Pembroke junior Savannah Bean is a regular on mission trips with her church and, over the summer, continued to show her benevolence on a trip to Kenya.
 
Every few years, Kenya Partners, a group from Bean's church, takes several members to other countries to help children and community members in need. Upon learning about this year's trip to Nakuru, Kenya, she felt that it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of doing something she is passionate about. Over the course of the month-long trip, she obtained a wealth of knowledge about another culture, as well as about herself.
 
While taking part in a handful of leisure activities, she also had the opportunity to instruct those students, while also volunteering her time in the local medical clinic, the Wesley Mission Clinic, as well where the church members offered charity in the form of clothes and school supplies.
 
"Some of the children liked to play soccer and volleyball for fun. "It was fun to be able to teach them some of my moves and techniques that I have picked up along with learning different little tricks they use while they are playing" Bean said.
 
That particular part of the trip stood out to her because she was able to teach something that she is so passionate about to children who were eager to learn made her feel like she was giving them something that they would remember. Even today, she still discovers ways to intertwine her passion for volleyball and for people together to impact individuals, even if it is just as simple of making someone smile.
 
Some of the activities that Bean was involved with in Kenya including transporting supplies to different areas of the country, while also preparing lesson plans for the local students. Those lesson plans included teaching literacy and math, while also connecting students with sponsors. Sponsors help the local children have the opportunity to receiving funding, food, education and supplies. Bean would interview the child, and then help them to write a reply letter to their sponsors in the United States.
 
Along the way, one particular student caught Bean's attention the most – a shy 3rd-grader who, initially, only showed his fondness of Bean from afar. He would often follow her around the village but, on the day she was leaving to return to the United States, finally approached her and sat with her while enjoying a cup of tea. When her group was finally ready to leave for the airport, he grabbed her hand and walked her over to the van.
 
"Just the little things like that make me want to come back more and more to give back and make an impact," she said. "Despite everything they are going through, they are always sweet and give the most love and attention. The experience is very humbling."  
 
Bean hopes to be able to find time every summer to travel overseas and make a difference in the communities that her church visits. She often encourages her friends, as well as other members of her church, to do the same.
 
"Giving back to a community doesn't just impact the individual you're helping, but also yourself in a very positive way," she said.