Rachel Vernon
Rachel Vernon
South Africa, 2022
Hi, my name is Rachel, I will be going to Cape Town, South Africa for 6 months to work with Volunteer Solutions. I plan to work in elementary schools with sports development and work in a local clinic. Read More About Rachel →

The WHY behind this trip?

The WHY behind the trip!

Hi everyone! My name is Rachel, and I will be traveling to Cape Town, South Africa. I will be a part of a sports development program and a medical program through Volunteer Solutions. More specifically, I will be coaching soccer, and other sports, at a local school with 7-13-year-olds. Since their school calendar is reverse to ours, they will have summer break during December and January. During this time, I will be working in local clinics as a Registered Nurse and getting exposure to their medical care. 

Now for the WHY of my trip. Since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to travel to somewhere in Africa for an extended period of time. I just wasn’t sure how to get there. My freshman year I heard about the Lumos scholarship, when Heather Ferarri, a teammate on the Belmont Women’s soccer team had presented on her recent trip. She went to Nepal for four months. I thought this was a unique opportunity and had my name written all over it. During her trip, she experienced the conditions of the medical facilities in Nepal. Over the course of the next four years, the Lumos project was pushed to the back of my mind. During my senior year, I had a decision to make, what to do after graduation? Everyone is faced with this question, yet I felt like I didn’t have a clear picture of the future. 

In January of 2022, I thought I wanted to travel and play semi-professional soccer. That would scratch two itches in one adventure. But as I did some more soul searching, I realized I wanted to experience more of the culture of the country I was living in. So I ruled out playing soccer, but still had NO plan! Which is very unlike me, who always has to have a plan! March 1st came around, and the Lumos project came up. The application was due on March 28th… not much time at all. I threw myself into this project, from losing sleep to staying in on the weekends. I made a bet with myself, if I can pull this off in 28 days then I will go on this trip whether it was on my own or with Lumos. But if I didn’t get to plan the entire trip by March 28th, then I would figure out a new plan. 

Well, here we are! 2 weeks away from the trip, I can not believe this is happening! This trip is a trip of a lifetime. I get to combine my two loves, soccer and nursing, in a country that I have always dreamed of going to! How perfect! But, the planning did not end there. It was just the beginning.

Things I have done to prepare to include:

  • Vaccination- Typhoid and malaria (typhoid was the most painful shot I have ever gotten, but it was so worth it, and malaria, I will be taking while I am overseas)
  • Booking flights- the flights there and back will be a 24-27 hour travel days! Going to be long days
  • Getting clothes- I needed new soccer cleats to be able to play soccer with the kids I will be working with (I also hope to join an adult team while I am over there), scrubs (to wear during the clinic part of the trip), and rain gear because I will be ariving the last month of rainy season 
  • Passing the NCLEX (National National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses)- which I passed! 

It is just the beginning of the adventure! I cannot wait to get my feet on the ground and get to know the culture of South Africa! 

6 thoughts on “The WHY behind this trip?”

  1. ahh Rachel! what a joy it is to read about your journey leading up to this trip. it’s cool to also see how spontaneously + sweetly the travel plans with Lumos seemed to unfold…yet how, in so many ways, your interests + past experiences have been tailored just right for your time in South Africa. you are going to be a blessing to the people you meet–and also be so blessed by all the ways in which others pour into you.

    wishing you many blessings and much peace as you prepare for the trip! know that you have a Lumos pal in Uganda rooting you on 🙂

    1. Alyssa, I appreciate your sweet words, I just finished reading about your adventure! It sounds like you landed in the right place and have jumped right in.

  2. Uuuuum. Is there an age limit for Lumos project…. This sounds right up my alley! Nepal!! A dream of mine…and Mongolia …
    What does rain gear include?

    1. Not sure about the age limit, but you should totally go!

      Rain gear includes- rain jacket, waterproof shoes and an umbrella.

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