Soccer In East Uganda … One Team At A Time — A Canadian Eyewitness

May 15, 2013 Comments Off on Soccer In East Uganda … One Team At A Time — A Canadian Eyewitness

By Barbara Giraud — Abbotsford, BC

Hello, my name is Barb and I recently arrived back home in Canada after spending two months in East Uganda.  A place you cannot even wrap your head around unless you visit.

This is a place where poverty is at its highest level, children that are sick but still climbing trees with their friends and giggling.  To see such happiness in such tragedy broke my heart.  I love to watch the soccer games and was amazed how they had nothing to use except balls made out of plastic bags.  Some of their clothes were literally hanging by a thread but that didn’t matter.  If I had closed my eyes, I would have thought I was at the stadium in Vancouver with all the cheering and excitement going on.  The next year I returned and I witnessed a light of hope in the kids.  I met two amazing young men, Daniel and Godfrey who are giving their hearts to teaching very poor children in the villages.

These kids are really poor.  Food is scarce and self-esteem is low due to loss of hope in life and even though Daniel and Godfrey had little themselves, they showed a special caring for these kids and that proved to make a difference.  The kids range in ages from 12 years to 16 years and they follow instruction attentively, making as many plastic bags balls as they could and eventually made enough for a team to practice with. What these two men noticed was the word “football” and teaching this sport brought out the smiles and excitement that probably had been locked inside most of their lives. I would love to go there to one day see these kids with actual uniforms, shoes and equipment. If anyone would like to help them acquire these items, please contact J.J. at JBST.

This is a country where only 10% of fathers are still living and mothers are dying in great numbers.  Grandmothers watch their grandchildren, sometimes up to 16 children with little to feed them.  When Daniel and Godfrey came into their lives and offered this soccer program to them, you can imagine the rejoicing.

Everybody can look better in the uniform

Finally, they may not have a real soccer ball, they many not have a uniform but they now have a smile on their faces.  I am convinced that one day, with enough care and training that we will be hearing about a Ugandan national champion soccer player in the news.  It will be one of these boys.