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.