By Sean Rooney on January 18, 2019.
Medicine Hat College volleyball player Molly Marie came back for the second semester with a new perspective, and it has nothing to do with what happens on the court.
Marie, a first-year right side from Lethbridge, went to Tanzania in December, visiting an orphanage in the east African country and reinforcing what she wants to do with her life.
“I wanted to go and help,” she said, “but the only thing these kids need help with is giving them the resources to help improve what they’re living in right now.”
Marie didn’t go with any organization, though her family had sponsored a young girl named Glory at the orphanage and they had a connection with a friend who works with the Bridges of Hope charity.
Growing up, her family often traveled around the world, which has a lot to do with her aspirations.
“I’m looking into an English major, then going into linguistic anthropology, doing English as a second language so I can travel and keep doing the work I did in Africa,” said Marie. “Teaching English as a second language, then doing humanitarian work on top of that.”
Her mom teaches and does humanitarian work in Mexico already, and joined her in Tanzania.
As part of the Africa trip, Marie got her Rattlers teammates involved. They each donated $15, enough to buy backpacks loaded with school supplies, and wrote notes to the children.
Perhaps the biggest lesson learned was that African kids — though far removed from the incredibly privledged lifestyles we have in North America — are not the downtrodden, unhappy people presented by charities.
“You see those commercials of all the children crying and in poverty and upset, and they are so happy,” said Marie. “It is complete poverty there, there’s no wealth by any means, but that’s all they know. They use their resources and what they have, and since that’s all they know you can’t help but be happy.”
She played soccer, danced and shared her experiences with the kids. She also got to go on a safari in the world-famous Serengeti, which wasn’t far from the Usa River orphanage.
Coming home, Marie admits it can be tough to hear peers complain about their first-world problems, but also realizes it’s not fair to compare things too much.
“I don’t need to guilt them and say children in Africa don’t have that, but I like making them aware, like ‘you have a really good iPhone that you’re using, why don’t you wait (to upgrade)?’
“My perspective is broadened, I’m sharper on clicking in to things right away. I don’t need to jump on it because this is all people know here.”
Marie already plans to go back to Tanzania. Often. And while she’s not aligned with a charity where people could support her efforts, she hopes raising the awareness of needing to help those less fortunate will strike a chord in her community here.
“Even if they research on their own time, Tanzania and different places like that, having the knowledge of it is the best way too,” she said. “Donating money is amazing because it does go to these places, but having the knowledge and understanding is the best way you can start.”
Marie and the Rattlers head to Calgary tonight to face the Ambrose Lions, who at 9-7 have the same record but don’t have to worry about making the playoffs because they’re hosting Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championships. Medicine Hat needs to win because they’re currently outside of a post-season spot, which requires them to finish ahead of either 12-2 Briercrest, 11-5 SAIT or 10-6 Red Deer.
The teams return to the Snake Pit Saturday for a 6 p.m. matchup.
The men’s volleyball team is in a similar situation to their female counterparts. At 7-9 they’re on the outside of the playoff picture and need to take both weekend matches against 2-14 Ambrose.
Saturday’s match in Medicine Hat is slated for 8 p.m.
The Rattlers women’s basketball team dropped to sixth in the national rankings this week after a loss to Olds, but at 11-2 still leads the ACAC’s South Division. They host 2-10 Red Deer Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.), looking to build momentum towards the playoffs.
Medicine Hat’s men’s basketball team can make things much easier with a pair of wins against Red Deer this weekend, but it won’t be easy.
At 8-5, the Rattlers are in a three-way tie for second place in their division, while the Kings are fifth at 5-7. A sweep would put some distance between the teams, but any Red Deer win could set up an interesting race the rest of the way.
Games are at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.
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