Well ladies and gents, your trusty bronze-medaled, women's volleyball Spartans are leaving the country. We're off to Paraguay alongside Athletes in Action to help fight poverty and spread God's love. We're using our sport as a platform as we're helping in orphanages, food stations, and whatever else God calls us to do. Our team is leaving April 26th and returning on May 9th, and this is where we'll be documenting all of our experiences and thoughts. Enjoy!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Day 1, Team Red

Team Red: Amber, Taryn, Chelsea F, Jodi, Ryan A, Amy

Awakening to a 6:50 a.m. alarm clock was less than pleasant after our two-day flight affair. However, the amusing sound of groggy singing brought a bit of spring to our steps, or rather laughter to our hearts.  After we retrieved our voices we enjoyed a delicious Paraguayan breakfast and then our team split up into three groups. Each of the groups was assigned to a different outreach location. My group, team Red, headed to an elementary school once we had layered ourselves with endless amounts of sun block and bug spray.
Arriving with beads of sweat already dripping down our foreheads, we got up our courage and faced the sixty adorable kids who were eagerly awaiting us. All the big brown eyes were on us when we walked through the gate…well almost. We were competing for the attention of the crowd of kids. Our competition was a group of six girls who were dancing in unison, South American style.  They were quite the dancers and later tried to teach us. I am sad and somewhat relieved to say my “hips do lie” and I for sure cannot shake it like these girls. We soon won over the crowd and got to play a multitude of games with the children.
They were adorable. How could one not love them? If I could wish for one thing, it would be able to speak Spanish fluently. The language barrier was hard, however I soon realized sports doesn’t need a language; it only needs God’s love!
We played with the kids for four hours, with a quick lunch break in between. After we said our good byes, gave some hugs, and took a hundred pics, we came back to our residency. We enjoyed an hour of downtime and then made our way to the volleyball court.
We played in a beautiful Sports Complex in Asuncion against three different teams of different caliber. It was my first time wearing my jersey since I got injured before the season, so I felt a string of different emotions. We won every set minus one (26-24). But the best part of the games was when we mixed up the teams and I got to play side by side with my new Paraguayan friends. Playing my first game back since my injury in Paraguay was a surreal experience and I wouldn’t want to change that.
Day one of the Paraguay adventure was priceless. Between God’s beautiful creation, the heart melting children, and the memorable volleyball games, it was outstanding. I can't wait to see what the next ten days has in store for us. Lata.

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