Hello! My name is Esther Choe, I am 23 years old and I will be a rookie on the LPGA Tour next year. I wanted to share with everyone my recent trip to Rwanda and Kenya. This all came about through my relationship with LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King. Betsy has become a mentor of mine and I have long admired her charitable work through Golf Fore Africa. So when she asked if I would like to join her on the trip this year I was very excited and couldn't say no! Little did I know this trip would be life changing..
I don't know where to start, as there were so many great moments, so I have picked out 3 events that had a major impact on me. The first is when we visited one of the water projects Golf Fore Africa funded. This was part of World Vision's WASH project and it is literally saving lives! A spring was tapped in Mudasomwa, Rwanda. Below is a photo of where this area used to get water and the new spring that was tapped.
When we arrived in Mudasomwa, the whole village came out and walked with us to the new spring, including 76 year-old Alvera. She ran to us, hugged us and told us she has been waiting 40 years for clean water for herself and her family! She pleaded with local officials all those years just to be ignored. At last, World Vision with the funding of Golf Fore Africa got it done!
The second event I'd like to share is when we went to the region of Uwinkingi to handout promise packs (which are backpacks full of school supplies and hygiene products) that Golf Fore Africa funded. With $25,000, we were able to distribute 1,000 promise packs to the local kids. What joy we saw on the kids' faces over simple items like a ruler or a pencil! The most powerful moment of the trip for me came when a father got down on his knees with his hands raised thanking us for the work Golf Fore Africa has done and how happy he was to finally be able to see the faces that care so much for his community. He said because of the funding in the area as well as the new health clinic, that his son was happy and healthy, excelling in school and that he can see a future ahead of him. He spoke with such passion. I don't think there was a dry eye among us. This was something I will never forget as long as I live.
The last event and one I hold very dear to my heart is when I met my sponsor child Ariane, for the first time. I can't explain to you how magical this meeting was. I feel as though it was meant to be that we were supposed to connect with each other! She explained to me her favorite food is Irish potatoes, so when the buffet came around I put extra potato wedges on her plate. After she picked just the potatoes off her plate, I went and got her a second dish full of potatoes. At 4 years old, she wiped it clean!! Every time I think of little Ariane, I smile and am filled with joy. My hope for her is that she becomes a strong and independent woman, but for now to just keep smiling!