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Winston-Salem teen has eye-opening experience in South Africa

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Sami Lachgar (left) and Jonathan Alvarez at the Mount Kilimanjaro summit after a weeklong trek up the mountain.

After living in the bubble of a college town, a summer in South Africa was just the ticket for 19-year-old Sami Lachgar.

Looking for a way to make his mark on the world, Lachgar, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, traveled to an area with a scarcity of clean water, readily accessible food, electricity and Internet service.

“I wanted to do something worthwhile for the summer and step out of my comfort zone,” said Lachgar, a Winston-Salem native. “It was a life-changing experience meeting the local people, who don’t have things — like clean water — that we take for granted in the U.S.”

Lachgar spent eight weeks from June to August volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa, through the nonprofit organization Hoops 4 Hope. The organization, established in 1995, provides kids in Africa with organized basketball and soccer programs to teach them life lessons through sports.

READ MORE: Winston-Salem Journal