|Written by Laura and Josh Duggleby|
|Thursday, 14 July 2011 19:56|
Day 8: Fun in the Sun!
So today was our first day to be out in the sun all day long! I could definitely tell a difference in the sun here from back in the states. In the morning we walked back down to the field near Serieux' house again. It is amazing to be how big that hill is that we have to climb down to get to the field! Here, Regis' team met up with us and we performed the Y-balance test with many of them. A crowd formed with village children watching everything we were doing. It was a very different experience performing this test on dirt and rocks. You usually have a very stable surface that you perform this test on, such as a basketball court, but in Africa you have to make do with what you have. So, a dirt soccer field is what we got. The kids were adapting very well, and still performing great on the test! Due to the lifestyle of many of these kids, having to walk everywhere on rugged terrain, most of their balance is impeccable and their flexibility is pretty good too! After this, we ran Regis' team through the FIFA warm-up. They all did really well with it. Lastly, we had one of the athletes pretend that they had injured their ankle and Regis had to pretend to treat him the way that he would if they were in practice or in a game situation. They both did a phenomenal job! The athlete who was pretending to be hurt, almost had me believing that he had truly hurt himself! He was quite the actor!! ;) By this point in time, we had been out on the field for several hours now. I was getting very lightheaded and warm from the heat, and from not having had lunch yet. I felt like such a baby though. Here I was a few hours late for lunch, and I was getting lightheaded, and many of the athletes we were dealing with had not eaten all day. I am so blessed with everything that I have been given in my life!
After this was a very special moment for me. We walked back up the large hill and over to a restaurant that was relatively close by called Holy Land. It was Serieux' favorite place and I was excited to try it! The best part about it though was that we had the opportunity to feed the team as well. They were SO excited to have the opportunity to receive a large plate full of food. With all the people that the restaurant had to cook for without notice, it took them about 2 hours to cook our food. During this time Josh and I shared a little bit of our testimonies. It was so great to be able to share with them! But something even better came next! Next a few of them shared their testimonies with us. This was such a blessing to get to hear into some of their lives and actually understand what circumstances they are living with on a daily basis, even currently.
The first guy to speak talked about how he had been born in Uganda. His dad died at a very young age, leaving only his mother to be able to care for him. Because of this, his mom was not able to fund his schooling, so he was not able to get an education. When he got older he moved to Rwanda. He started playing soccer, and one of his friends that he came into contact with told him about God. He had never gone to church before or known much about God. Later, he moved again, closer to the city of Kigali. He started playing soccer on Regis' team in Play For Hope. The boys on this team were very encouraging and prayed for him. Because of this encouragement, he has more joy in his life. He is doing very well in his life right now.
The second boy to speak talked about how he grew up in the church and had accepted God at a young age. Later though, his father died and he turned away from God, blaming Him. He, likewise could no longer attend school because his mom could not afford it. Around this time he started to get into some very unhealthy things. Some time after however, he joined Play For Hope. He started to continually hear about the love of God again. He has since come back to God again and is doing very well in his life. Also, through Play For Hope he was given the opportunity to go to plumbing school. Hw is now in his internship and after that he will be able to work, which means that he will be able to provide for himself! What a great testimony!
The third guy who spoke told us how his parents had divorced at 5 years of age. I did not understand the harsh reality of this at the time he was telling his testimony, but later I learned what a terrible thing this was. In America we get very accustomed to divorce; it is a pretty normal thing here, which is sad to think, but it happens a lot. In Rwanda, this is not the case. Not only do people very seldomly get divorced, it is very hard to do so. Serieux was telling me later that it is almost impossible unless the woman is found to be immoral in the relationship. If a divorce does occur, the mother is then cast out from the family. She is not even allowed to see her children anymore. This was the case with this guy. He was now to be raised by only his father. His dad soon after got remarried. His dad is a drug addict and got thrown into prison for about 4 years. Because of this, he could not attend school any longer, and not only that, but he was also kicked out of the house because he was not his step-mothers child. So, he now had to live on the streets and fend for himself. During this time, he became very upset with the Lord. A film company called Almond Tree Films let him stay with them for a while, and then a good friend asked him to come and live with their family so that he did not have to be on the streets any longer. He has snuck back into school and every time that they ask for payment, he tells them he has to wait until he gets paid, but he never ends up paying. This is his current situation, and he is not sure how much longer that will last. He really enjoys playing with Play For Hope however. It was been a great source of joy in his life!
In the last testimony that we heard from, his father passed away at a very young age from the war. He had only been through part of primary school (elementary school) at the time. His mother could not afford for him to go to school, so that was the last time that he has attended school. Growing up, he played a lot of soccer because he enjoyed it. This caused a lot of tension between him and his mother however because she wanted him to be doing chores and other work at the house. She did not believe that he should be fooling around with sports. I believe that this is about the time that he began living on the streets. His entire family had been believers besides him. He did not want to hear anything about religion! When he got a little older, he started playing for Play For Hope. He quickly became the captain of the team, and shortly after Serieux began to personally invest invest into his life. He began meeting with Serieux a lot. Serieux wanted him to start coaching, but he did not believe in himself enough to want to take on that responsibility. Also, he did not believe, and that is a big part of Play For Hope. I believe it was around this time that his mom saw all the good that was coming from soccer and began supporting him emotionally again. (I didn't get all the exact details, because some things get lost in translation). Over time he finally decided to become a coach. At first, it was very hard for him because he still did not completely believe and so his team became very disunited. There were many problems that were occuring with the team. He started thinking about how he could become a better leader. In this time, he finally gave his life over to Christ and the Lord blessed him tremendously! He says that the team just started coming together and that he feels very free now as a coach. Also, he has had the opportunity to see others come to Christ because of him, his actions and his story. What a great testimony! And you can see from his team that they look up to him and respect him so much!!
After this, the food finally came! It was SO good! We had two sticks of meat, kinda like a Cabob (not sure if I spelled this right?) in the states, here called a Brushette. We also had some fries and some type of colelaw stuff with carrots in it. It was all very good! From here we headed to the office to meet our translator and then were off to another field. We had to bring all the FMS and Y-Balance kits with us, which made things rather difficult, but we made it. When we got to the field, I was AMAZED to see how many kids there were! It was unreal! There had to be close to 150 kids, on this one team that Santa coaches! He deals with this many kids on a regular basis at a time. You could tell that everyone really respected him though! I just wish with this phenomenal coaching talent that there was some way that he was able to get paid. He really is an incredible man of God! After Seriuex introduced us to the team, Jena and I took the girls into a dark school room that was behind the field. We spoke to them again, the same as we had the first. This group of girls was very different though. They were very shy and didn't ask many questions. The talk went really well though. And after the talk, we ran the girls through the FIFA warm-up. This was interesting with the language barrier, but I feel that we did a pretty good job! I learned afterwards too from Serieux that many of the boys and the village children and parents who were standing around watching, were very impressed that Jena and I were doing the same warm-up that the boys do. I think this just really clearly spoke all the encouragement that we were giving the girls in the schoolroom even more. I hope that it inspired them, as well as the many people watching to what girls can do in sports. This group of kids were so amazing. I also found out later that the majority of these children are street children, and live in an area called the dump. (I think this is basically where all the trash is deposited). I saw a lot of children here with runny noses. I have been told that most of the time, it is not just a cold, but it is an effect of sniffing glue. Many street children do this to curb hunger pains, but you can only imagine what it is doing to their system? From here we rode back to the office and then walked home. It was along day out in the sun, but certainly a blessed day!
For dinner we got my favorite juice, which seemed even better tonight after being in the heat all day, as well as beef macaroni! Yum! It was so good!! It rained for the first time here tonight. It didn't last long, but it was coming down very hard! I felt so bad for the street children! Who knows what they do for protection from the rain. I have been told that many of them sleep in the ditches, but when it rains, that is not possible. Tomorrow we are heading up to the market to get a better understanding of how street kids make are able to survive. Then, in the afternoon we have more teams to work with! I have to remember my sunscreen tomorrow! I did good today, but missed the back of my neck, so it is PRETTY crispy to say the least!! ;)