“We Got Balls” Initiative – Garissa Edition
When I got a request to do a football donation trip to Garissa, I didn’t know what to expect. Garissa is a town I’d never visited before and the only thing I knew about it was that it could get pretty hot out there. So once again the “We Got Balls’ initiative decided to rally support from friends and family to fund the purchase of football kits.
Donations were made and the kit was bought and then eventually we set out for Garissa. Past Mwingi at Ukasi is a border sort of police post which basically announces, “You’re now leaving Kenya,” well that’s the feel I got because such barriers you only see them at border points. This highway might I add must be the safest on earth by virtue of the number of police road blocks. Anyway I digress.
About 5hours later we were received by Mr. Mohamed, (who insists on being called Moha) is a gentleman who has given himself to serve the people in disadvantaged areas of Garissa and when I say disadvantaged I am putting it lightly. One thing you must do in Garissa is drink lots of water because the heat is crazy if you are not used to it. But that’s just the point, there is no water. Most if not all water points were dry to the point of women sitting on the road stopping any passing car to ask if they have water. Mr. Mohamed or “Abo” as he is referred to by close ones, tells me that it’s the norm, people covers distances of over 20km in search of water everyday. Then I go back to why I’m here and question myself is it a question of wrong priorities? Maybe the “We Got Balls” initiative should have brought something else not football kit. I question if the kids can even play under these conditions.
We get to the first school, Charidende Primary School, and the reception is warmer that the temperatures outside. I am not much on speeches so I’m glad I don’t have to give any and the kit is distributed. The kids wear them proudly and I click away on my camera, too overwhelmed at the joy on their faces from something I consider “small” but clearly it means a lot to them. We do the same in the next school, Bilbil primary School and each time I say to myself, we might not be able to give them everything they need, but “We Got Balls” can give what we’ve got; balls. And so we give the balls we have to an institution that actually humbles me, Young Muslim Association Children’s home. An institution with a very rich history and a very humbling one at that that is home to over 800kids who depend on good will if they are to complete basic education. It always impresses me what happens the moment you throw a ball in the middle of kids.
The smiles inspired by the reception on new football kits
Young Muslims Football Team
Now there is talk of starting a local league in Garissa, just from one visit. Makes me wonder how much more they can do if offered the opportunity. Garissa is a good town, I didn’t hear any bombs explode or bullets miss my ear, maybe it was just a good day for us, or maybe the fear for this place is overrated, I think the latter. One person can’t change the world, but two people can. On behalf of the “We Got Balls” initiative I would like to thank Safara Trust for the invite to Garissa, it was more than just a trip to share our love for sports but it was a humbling experience that we wouldn’t hesitate to have again.
Unforgettable. I encourage you all to check out Safara Trust on face book and on www.safaratrust.org for more information on what they are doing. Great work and we at “We Got Balls” wish you all the best in your upcoming medical camp on the 20th of august 2011. Support Safara Trust if you can, they are doing their bit and you don’t know how much even a little good luck message can do.
Of course my deepest gratitude goes to my friends and family for the support. The “We Got Balls” initiative wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for you. You might love the last minute rush, but the fact that you actually “rush” is enough for me. I wish we could all have gone together but there’s next time right?
Don’t tire. God bless your big hearts and let’s go give them what we got balls.