Monday, June 19, 2006

The Soccer Ball Fund

I would like to personally thank the numerous people who have so generously provided soccer equipment to the youth of Nkamira. In particular, several people deserve individual thanks for their exceptional efforts: Amy M., Raff P., Mariam F., and Chris F. Thanks to EM for hand-carrying almost all the donations.

The Soccer Ball Fund provided 18 soccer balls, equipment bags, cones, and pumps. Mariam and Chris F. Separately sent two holographic leather World Cup commemorative soccer balls. The generosity was overwhelming, and everyone in the HCR office and among our operational partners was stunned by the outpouring of support.

I should also note that the Soccer Ball Fund also provided educational posters (which I think are at the post office in Kigali) and $100 to use on the youth at my discretion.

After several efforts to unite the Refugee Committee and the Youth Committee to make the announcement, I finally succeeded last week.

To say that they were overjoyed would be an understatement. I had brought one ball with me, which they were very happy to receive—but then, when I told them that they would get another ball every time an old ball wore out, they were beside themselves. They stood and cheered. They had been scrounging to save enough money to buy another ball; I told them that they could now use that money to buy shoes.

They asked me at the meeting if I could also provide metal goals. I told them that I had seen them use goals made of plywood. They explained that the goals were stolen for firewood, and that they needed some cement to keep the goals firmly planted. I thought it was a fair request.

With some of the money given to me by the Soccer Ball Fund, I purchased a bag of cement and delivered it the next day, along with cones and a pump. Today, I saw that they had found metal bars to construct a proper goal, and they are conducting umuganda (community work) to remove all the volcanic rock from the soccer field. Tomorrow is World Refugee Day, and the boys’ team, which is still undefeated in the entire area, will play against a village team. The girls will play on Friday.

A colleague later told me something he had overheard the kids saying. “This muzungu promises things and then keeps her word,” they said. Probably the best compliment I’ve received since I arrived, I thought I would share it with all of you, because they’re really talking about you. You deserve all the credit. Thank you, from the kids, from the parents, from the Refugee Committee, and from me.

5 Comments:

Anonymous a.mix said...

Aw shucks, you just brightened an otherwise dreary (not to mention it's pouring outside) day at the office. I will forward your message to everyone on our list, and they'll all be very happy to hear how well the soccer balls were received. Good decision on the cash. Thanks for the update and, of course, the steady stream of amusing reads. I hope our tubing trip (yes, the Mixes will represent) is a whole lot calmer than your experience. Otherwise, how would we keep the beer from spilling out?

6/19/2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Joe Pyrek said...

Morgan...I miss you so much and I think what you are doing over there is awesome. Hope everything goes well...stay safe, have fun, and most importantly don't forget about all the people stateside that love and care about you! I miss you tons. Write me if you get a chance, we haven't talked or seen each other in ages!!!

-Joe

joe.pyrek@capitalone.com or jpyrek@hotmail.com

6/21/2006 11:51 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Joe! I miss you too. We'll catch up when I get home, which is sooner than I want to admit to myself!

7/06/2006 3:30 PM  
Blogger A said...

Don't you think medical aid is needed more than any soccer ball fund?

7/13/2009 7:18 PM  
Blogger Luke said...

Hi,

I've been reading your blog and it's great! This post in particular caught my eye. A friend and myself are traveling along the east coast this summer for 3 months. We'd like to do something meaningful while we're there and with the World Cup in South Africa this year, soccer figures to be at the center of things. We thought of trying to get sponsored by an organization to raise soccer balls and equipment for the people of Africa. It sounds like you did something similar to this. How did you get started, and do you have any advice for an upstart group like ourselves to begin something like this? Any information you have would be greatly appreciated! Email me at lukeolson1@gmail.com.

Thank You,
Luke Olson

1/15/2010 4:09 AM  

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