SEATTLE – It’s called the offseason for a reason, but K.J. Wright didn’t spend the entire time lying on the beach.
The Seattle Seahawks linebacker made his first trip to Africa earlier this year, delivering books and teaching schoolchildren how to speak English.
Wright smiled as he went through some photos of the trip.
“Growing up, I had a certain perspective of Africa,” he said. “Only one thing was showed to me.
“I just wanted to go out there and see it for myself.”
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Wright made the trip to Kenya with teammates Byron Maxwell and Mike Morgan and former teammate Malcolm Smith. The four visited a school in the middle of Kenya’s Maasai Mara region.
“My travel agent, she suggested that we take books to the kids because the school was 600 kids and they only had like 10 books,” Wright said. “So we just had to find a way to help educate those kids, so what we did was we had a book drive.”
Thanks to public donations, several trips to the Goodwill, and the Seahawks’ help, a package was sent nearly 10,000 miles around the world, arriving just in time for the players’ visit.
“When those kids got it, they all presented it to us” the books, the footballs, the soccer balls,” Wright said. “They had like a pep rally for us.”
The players had an opportunity to get to know the students.
“It was just amazing to have conversations with them,” Wright said. “They asked me where I am from. I drew a map as best I could and I drew Seattle and I drew up Mississippi.
“I met some girls, they want to be lawyers, some kids want to be pilots when they grow up, and so they definitely have aspirations.”
How did it feel to contribute to the children’s futures?
“I believe I’m in the position to where it’s my job and my duty,” Wright said. “It’s very important, because you know I have some people ask me, you know, we have people in our own community, why don’t you just help them?
“I believe that where ever you go, anyone you help, whatever you desire to do that you should go do it. However, to help someone understand the English language, which is like the universal language, that’s really special.”
Wright said he wants to raise money to build a well so the people he met can have access to clean water.
Wright also held a clinic for kids in Centralia last month and spent his last free week of this offseason with Cliff Avril in Haiti, building houses.