Going into Orientation and the Shooting Touch Gala weekend I was incredibly nervous. But when arriving in Boston and having people ask me what I was nervous about, I didn’t actually know what I was nervous about, I just knew I was nervous. I think it was more nervous about the unknown and not knowing what to expect. Then I met up with Matt and some of the past fellows and I became more relaxed and excited about the journey I was about to begin. It was great meeting all of the amazing people that are involved with Shooting Touch. I quickly learned that this organization truly is a family and one that I am proud to now be a part of.
Friday evening started out with a dinner with the Shooting Touch Board of Directors and all grantees, current and past, which I greatly enjoyed. I was having a wonderful time until I had to get up and speak in front of everyone. Public speaking is definitely not my strongest asset and now I am in a position where I not only had to conquer my greatest fear, but I had to do it in front of such greats as Amadou Fall, the head of NBA Africa, as well as ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla and Jackie MacMullen, just to name a few, whom I have seen speaking television a million times before. If that wasn’t enough, Boston Celtics Forward Kelly Olynyk was looking right at me as I spoke. For those of you who know me and watched my video, I have been a die-hard Celtics fan since I was just a little girl. So it is surely an understatement to say that I was nervous and wasn’t quite sure what I was going to say or how I was going to show these people my gratitude for allowing me this great opportunity that awaits me in Rwanda. The speech didn’t turn out as I had hoped, but I was still breathing at the end of the night so life is good.
Saturday started out with orientation and I got a much better look at what to expect with the educational aspect of this experience. Listening to what is expected of me, I am confident that I will be able to perform all duties successfully.
Before I knew it, the big night was finally upon us, the Gala Evening. The entire event was wonderful, from the way the room was set-up and the decorations, all the way to the staff and their speeches. I found myself going out of my comfort zone to introduce myself to some of the Board Members and start up a conversation with them. With that, I found that I was learning from this experience before I even left the states. It was a great feeling. Everything about the evening was great and it truly was an honor to be a part of this wonderful event. I know my mom had a great time as well. My mother told me that she feels a lot better after talking to everyone and hearing the stories that everyone had to share, particularly Patrick’s Mom, Joan, and Remy. She said those two both had in-depth conversations about my travel and what to expect that it made her feel more at ease. So, thank you Joan and Remy. 🙂 I think you just made this a much more welcoming experience for us all. That doesn’t mean she still won’t be a mess when I leave, but it gave her a sense of relief in what to expect and to know that I will be safe and that I am with a great bunch of people that will help me to grow as an individual to help Shooting Touch grow as an organization.
I would like to thank everyone that helped make the entire weekend a success. I am counting down the days to my departure. I know great things await me in Rwanda.