Changing a Nation One Soccer Ball At A Time
This was written by Bridgette who is on the team this trip. I share her sentiments as I have seen the power of a ball myself…..Connie
I’m not sure I would have believed it unless I saw it with my own eyes. Since here last year, the Partners For Care (PFC) Kenyan team has established a number of “what if?” soccer and volleyball teams in several of the slum areas and surrounding villages. To us Americans, this would seem easy to do as our children change their sport of choice with each new season. I recall spending over $400 to outfit my son for ice hockey so he could “try it out” between baseball and soccer seasons. I think he lasted 3 weeks before deciding it wasn’t for him. In Maruri slum, the young men and women play soccer on a rocky, muddy, cleared area with no shoes, no uniforms and a tethered ball made of garbage bags and rags. The PFC team here quickly realized that if you took these idle young men and women off the streets and equipped them with the necessary equipment both physically and spiritually, you could begin to bring real life changes. These guys started their first soccer team with 1 real ball and several sets of shoes that they would “share” for games. They were required to sign conduct cards which held them accountable for their actions on and off the field. If they chose to drink alcohol, take drugs, sniff glue to get high, fight or have sexual relations before marriage…their cards could be pulled at any time and they were not allowed to play. It has been amazing to watch as these young athletes have made decisions to follow Christ, follow the rules set out for them and begin living with pride, dignity and discipline. As depicted in the movie Invictus, even Nelson Mandela realized that sports could unify a nation like nothing else could. With your donations and support, we have been able to set up and equip a number of “what if?” teams with partial uniforms, some shoes, balls…and these young people are so incredibly grateful. I have seen idle street kids transformed into superstars. It has brought about so much transformation in the slum that a local Nairobi news station came several weeks ago and filmed their story! You can see several of the soccer players stories and the news coverage at www.partnersforcare.blogspot.com. They now have purpose as they hold their heads high, giving back to their own individual villages and becoming role models for their peers. Thank you for helping to change the future generations in Kenya, one soccer ball at a time.
Bridgette Sent via Cingular Xpress Mail with Blackberry