Occasionally I scream out loud in shock. Curious children love yanking on the bushy hair that covers my legs. I look down and see a kid staring at a fistful of my leg hair in his hand. Wonderful, curious children. I know so many and they all love the same thing. What they have never seen before. Kids want to know everything and do everything but they get left to themselves to do it.
The ground had barely stopped smoking after a group of shacks had burned down when youth of Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group started talking about reclaiming the land for the public. The land had been grabbed illegally and was filled with informal tin structures. The community had no space for the twenty four thousand youth who grow up in some of the most squeezed conditions in the world. Kaka the leader of the community announced it was to be redeveloped as a pitch for kids to play ball. Any investment into sports within a community is bound for success and the Slum Soccer project was a no brainer after the results we got from the first Slum Soccer pitch. Building a bigger pitch only one hundred meters from the community centre had a nice ring to it, and in no time we all had shovels flinging dirt around.
I’m going to save the details for the documentary that will be coming out shortly that I wish everyone watches. I just want to take a second to describe the impact that building this field has had on the community of Mlango Kubwa. Anyone who has ever donated or volunteered or helped out in some way for Up With Hope has helped create something that can bring communities to a stand still as they come together to celebrate youth and unity. Yesterday we had a girls tournament that some are claiming beat the opening tournament event. I could agree. Now its not just kids who are seeing things for the first time but an entire community. It is powerful. It is HOPE.
Stay tuned for more on how to see the SLUM SOCCER Documentary!