Peace Corps Volunteer Brings Little League Baseball to Kenya
October 30, 1998Washington, D.C., October 30, 1998—For young baseball fans in the United States, a big part of summer vacation involves playing Little League baseball. This past July, children in Meru, Kenya experienced that same excitement thanks to their coach, Peace Corps volunteer David Meaney. Meaney, who hails from San Francisco, first arrived in Meru at a time when students' enthusiasm for baseball was growing steadily. Unfortunately, equipment was unavailable or in poor condition, and so participation was limited. Meaney decided to change that.
This summer, Meaney's efforts came to fruition. With U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, Kenyan senior government officials, and members of the Kenya baseball and softball associations looking on, Meaney presented six public schools in the Meru area with $8,000 worth of baseball equipment donated by Little League, Inc. and Rawlings Sporting Goods through the Peace Corps' Gifts-in-Kind program.
"In Kenya success can be elusive and hardship the norm," Meaney said. "This demonstration of generosity, going hand in hand with hard work, can help to restore the hope that things can improve."
During the ceremony, Ambassador Bushnell praised the work of Meaney in bringing young kids together to promote baseball. She encouraged the students to learn the benefits of teamwork, fairness and playing by the rules. An official of the Kenya baseball and softball associations announced the admission of Meru baseball teams into the international little league fraternity.
Following the presentation, the children played several exhibition games to showcase the new equipment. "It was obvious to everyone that the players themselves were quite excited to be using the new equipment," Meaney said. "Overall, the day was a huge success enjoyed by all."
Meaney said the new baseballs, softballs, gloves, baseball bats, batting helmets, catcher's equipment, and uniforms went to kids who would not have had enough equipment to practice or be a competitive team.
Meaney, one of 149 volunteers in Kenya, worked as a small business development adviser in Meru. He completed his two-year Peace Corps service in September of this year.
Currently, about 6,500 Peace Corps Volunteers are working in 80 countries to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.