Wednesday, October 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis teen has a heart for Rwanda

Lyla Godfryd high-fives the opposing soccer team in a friendly game in Mayaga, Rwanda. Her efforts provided the jerseys, cleats and other supplies to the players. Courtesy photo

By
From page A8 | October 01, 2013 |

The Rwandan village of Mayaga is better place to be a kid because Lyla Godfryd is in the world.

Two decades ago, the village became home to many widows and a large group of children orphaned by the genocide of 1994 that killed as many as 1 million men, women and children in the African nation. In the years since, the residents built themselves houses and a school and brought in electricity, and now, 19 years later, new families have formed and the next generation is being raised in a peaceful, though very poor, place.

Godfryd, a junior at Davis High School, knew of the struggles the villagers faced from family friend Chiaya Rawlins, who works on behalf of the Friends of Rwanda Association. And 2 1/2 years ago, upon learning that the children there loved to play soccer but had virtually no equipment — no shoes, no balls, no anything — she decided to change that.

Godfryd — a longtime soccer player herself — had a sizable collection of soccer jerseys accumulated over the years and suspected households all over Davis did, too. She put out the word to the community and soon had enough jerseys to outfit 10 full teams of students, as well as shin guards, socks, cleats, balls, nets and more.

She turned everything over to Rawlins to deliver to Rwanda for her and was rewarded with photographs of smiling children clad in Davis AYSO and DYSL jerseys happily playing soccer.

“I had hoped to go with her,” Godfryd said, “but I was too young.”

When Rawlins returned to Davis, she told Godfryd of the school’s other needs, ranging from a library to an outdoor court where students could play basketball and volleyball.

Godfryd decided to make that her next project, and last winter, she began collecting again, though this time the effort was more focused on raising money to purchase the materials to build the court.

She sent out letters and received donations from friends and family. A booth at the Davis Farmers Market also brought in a lot of donations.

“I was astounded,” said her mom, Avery Godfryd.

So generous was the community that Godfryd was able to raise everything needed to build the court and outfit it with balls, nets and more. And this time, she got to be the delivery person.

In June, accompanied by family friend Ange Twagirayezu, brother of Rwanda’s ambassador to the United States, Godfryd headed to Rwanda. There she stayed with a family for a month and became close to one of the daughters, Karen, who became her companion and tour guide during Godfryd’s time there.

She visited Kenya, went on a safari and saw the rainforest, but the highlight of the trip was her visit to the school in Mayaga.

She arrived to see kids proudly wearing her own Sacramento club team’s Cal Rush T-shirts as part of their school uniforms.

“The kids had heard I was coming and they had prepared a musical for me,” Godfryd said.

She received a tour of the grounds, saw where the new sports court would be installed and even played a game of soccer, which in Rwanda is considered a “male sport,” Godfryd said, but one that they were happy to play with her.

Many of the kids she was playing with and against wore soccer jerseys likely very familiar to Davis kids.

Godfryd also presented the $1,500 she had raised in Davis — converted to Rwandan currency — to the principal of the school and remarked on how so much of it — the donations, the balls, the jerseys — “seem so little here, but were so big there.”

“It seemed amazing what a difference I could make,” she added.

Back in Davis, her new Rwandan friends are still on her mind and she is already planning what she will do next to make life a little better for the residents of Mayaga.

“I’m going to raise more money to fill in the needs,” she said. “The teachers don’t make much and the kids don’t have a lot of books … the priority will be building a library.”

She’s not planning an active fundraising campaign but anyone interested in helping can make donations through the Friends of Rwanda Association at any time.

And she says she’s so grateful for the support of the Davis community, her family and friends — particularly Maddie Rackerby, who helped her enormously — and the Friends of Rwanda Association. Learn more about the association and how to help at www.friends-of-rwanda.org.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

.

News

A favorite autumn tradition

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Marathon specialist Winter heads to cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

County to fund pilot project for West Sac homeless

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
Author showcases field biology as he revels in nature

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Terez will perform at Wine’d Down Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Apply soon to be a Master Gardener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Super-fun 5K run will support UCD students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Arts Center: a call to artists for Holiday Sale Wall of Art

By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Wine-tasting and auction benefit Advanced Treble Choir

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Entries due Nov. 1 in VFW essay contests

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Teen services grant applications due this week

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Voice of the Wood plans family Halloween show

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Garamendi will speak at U.N. Day event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Wolk sets ‘Morning with the Mayor’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Volunteers sought to chip in on parks cleanup

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Setting a good example

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A5

Kids form a lifelong habit of drinking water

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Composting workshop set at Grace Garden

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Farmers Market hosts Fall Festival

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
A Taste of India dinner benefits Davis Community Meals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Women and men want the same things in cars … usually

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
California state parks show off fall color

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: A7

October is fall car care month

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Railroad work will close Eighth Street

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

Special education information night scheduled

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9

 
Halloween Carnival planned Oct. 26

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Soda bottlers spend big to fight S.F. ban

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A9

 
Mondavi Center gift shop plans holiday sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Clinton sounding like a candidate in S.F. appearance

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

 
Vote no on Prop. 1, because it’s no solution

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

David Fitzsimmons cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

UCD women’s soccer postseason hopes flickering

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A typical Blue Devil girls water polo win

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

DHS boys hold off Rio Americano in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Devils are on track for volleyball playoffs after win

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Giants rip Royals in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
AYSO roundup: Local winners have the Eye of the Tiger

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Alliance/Legacy roundup: Italia cruises past Chico

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Fipps earns another preseason hoops award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Mariana Brumbaugh Henwood

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics