NWF Youth Sports Impact | Arianna Ramos

In December 2018, I was given the opportunity to travel to The Gambia to teach the local communities how to play softball. I couldn’t believe that I got to represent the Natasha Watley Foundation and Run the Bases during this once in a lifetime experience.

We spent 10 days in The Gambia. Our view from our hotel was amazing. Every morning when we woke up, we could hear the sound of the ocean waves with the beach being less than a 2-minute walk. It took me a few days to get adjusted to everything. Whether it was fighting all the bugs that liked to hang out in our room or mentally preparing myself to take a cold shower every single day, my normal routine was shaken up but in the most humbling way.

The week of training was a busy, yet exciting week. Every morning we would pick up the kids in the local communities and head to the ditch to practice.

During the car ride, we would sing songs that each community had. The children were always ready to learn and start their day with us. Seeing the kids’ faces light up every time they saw us with gloves and balls for them made everything so special for me. One of my favorite moments is when a little boy came up to me and wanted to play catch instead of taking a water break. It was at that moment that I knew that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I know that I was born to help people in need and to show the many bright possibilities a child can have for his/her future. Not only did this trip impact the children’s lives, but it impacted my own life too. It reminded me to be grateful for what I have in my life right now. I will always remember the hospitality that The Gambia gave to us. I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life.