The FAMU South Africa reporting team caught up with FAMU’s Alisa Routh, Grambling State University’s Derrill Miller and Spelman College’s Karen Evans to recap their most memorable experiences from the Coca-Cola sponsored trip to South Africa. Links to blogs penned by Alisa during the trip are listed below.
ATLANTA — As teams from around the globe battled for World Cup glory, 21 students from historically black colleges and universities faced off against another fierce opponent, Africa’s water crisis.
The students were winners of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness Tour” competition, which sought original answers to the question “How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you?” in the form of short video entries.
The prize: a five-day cultural excursion to South Africa where they gained firsthand knowledge of the continent’s devastating clean water shortage, met actor Idris Elba and attended a World Cup match between Argentina and Mexico.
FAMU’s Alisa Routh, a third-year public relations student from Atlanta, described the trip as a life-changing experience.
“It has made me work harder and stay positive. To see why I should be grateful regardless of my trials is only showing a pinch of the spirit that those beautiful people have,” Routh said.
Karen Evans, a recent graduate of Spelman College, completed a school project on water conservation and leapt at the chance to take her newfound knowledge to a global level.
“It’s more important than many of the things in the media, yet nobody talks about it,” Evans said. “Simple things like not having sanitary water really hit a lot of people. I did research before but never realized how severe the problem was or how easy it is to fix.”
The trip is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Derrill Miller, a third-year hospitality management student at Grambling State University, who has wanted to travel to Africa since the seventh grade. He said witnessing the devastation firsthand motivated him to join the fight for access to safe drinking water.
“I have learned to be grateful for everything that I have and to appreciate the smaller things in life. I was inspired to step up and work harder to make a change in my household and in the world,” Miller said. He now operates a small non-profit organization called One Love, One World designed to create fresh-water solutions throughout Africa.
He hopes to return to the continent and is thankful for this rare opportunity, saying “It was more than a contest that I won. It was a dream that I lived.”
For more information about the Coca-Cola RAIN initiative visit: