“Our world relies on numbers and statistics.” Precious Akanyirige

Our world relies on numbers and statistics to illustrate success. For our trip with Girls Soccer Worldwide I could list many: the number of girls that participated on the trip, the number of supporters we have in not only California but spanning throughout the country, the amount of hours we spent traveling, the dedicated patrons  in Coronel Bogado, schools we visited, grocery bags delivered, cleats donated. The list feels infinite.

Precious sharing her love for the game with students at small school in Paraguay.

Although these statistics are all important parts of understanding the logistics of our trip, these numbers do not illustrate the lasting impact this trip had on me and my fellow volunteers, because when I think about what I took away from this trip, and what continues to inspire me about Girls Soccer Worldwide, it has nothing to do with numbers at all.

When I think back on the trip, when I look through my pictures, and when I watch the incredible VIDEO Sabrina put together, the word “community” echoes through my mind. (click photo for video)

Precious embracing some love from Natalia, a Girls Soccer Worldwide Ambassador and Las Pionera’s Soccer Player.

We can define community in many different ways based on where we live, what we do, and who we interact with, but every day I was on this trip, I couldn’t help but broaden my own definition of community. I could not help but feel connected with every new girl and family we met because, despite the 5,000-6,000 miles that is normally between us, on some level, we all want the same things.

Young girls receiving a new pair of soccer cleats from Precious at a partnered school in Antequera. For many, this is their first pair.

We want to be respected as girls, women, students, and athletes. We want to feel safe, supported, and capable of changing the world. In no way do I want to minimize the privilege of the conditions I was born into by saying we are all the same, but on a human level, when we are stripped of possessions, our souls feel such similar innate desires.  The connections I have been able to make within the community of Coronel Bogado not only remind me that the world is so much smaller than we think, but also challenges me to pursue something bigger than myself in an effort to bridge the gaps that exist.

Precious cheesing it up with our 2018 Ambassadors during our trip to Paraguay.

We all have a unique story. Mine involves a supportive family and community, a journey to collegiate soccer, and a future career in medicine. I strive to pursue a career in medicine, combining my knowledge and passions into a lifetime of service– always keeping the value of community in mind.

I’d like to leave you with two quotes, one from a well known icon, and another from an icon in my heart, Señora Blanca (also known as Maria Lujan’s mom).

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘what are you doing for others? ‘” -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Apoyando uno al otro” ~supporting each other~ -Señora Blanca

Precious with her fellow Trailblazers, women who attribute playing sports to their success today, during our 2019 trip to Paraguay.

Precious has been a part of the Girls Soccer Worldwide™ team since 2018 and serves as a Trailblazer where she travels and mentors our young Ambassadors who travel abroad.  During her tight schedule in Medical school, she still manages to provide guidance and support throughout several projects leading up to each trip.

FUN FACT: During our trip to Paraguay 2019, Precious was offered an experience to work in the local hospital.  When asked about this opportunity she shared “Getting to spend time in the hospital was INCREDIBLE!  It was such an honor to be allowed to shadow and learn from the providers there…it was unforgettable!”

Precious working in a Paraguayan hospital with a fellow mentor, Mica Stefani. Photographed with Precious and Mica is the Mayor of Coronel Bogado.

We look forward to our next trip to Paraguay with Precious and many more ‘unforgettable’ experiences.

We invite you to learn more about our Girls Soccer Worldwide Leadership Program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instagram feels @girlssoccerworldwide