This time around, Martina, our Chair and founder tells us of how much she loved playing football with the children of Ballanghar. Martina plays football in her free time in Dublin, where she lives and loved bringing the joy of this game with her to The Gambia.
The football tournament
“I love spending time playing with children. It is my favourite part of each trip. Children are not used to receiving so much attention from adults and they happily respond to any games we teach them.
They have learned my name by heart and it is repeated non stop to grab my attention.
“Martina, Martina, Martina, Martina…”
This year we planned to organise a number of different activities to entertain the children in the evening, from a movie night, to reading short stories to a football tournament.
Due to logistical reasons (lack of a converter for an apple laptop), we were not able to show them the Disney cartoons we brought with us: The Lion king and Aladdin. However the football tournament was a great success. We purchased a ball, bibs and some cones to define the field and just with the mentioning of football, the kids screamed of excitement!
We organised 2 games with the older classes (grade 5 to 8) with mixed teams to encourage participation of girls too.
44 players, 4 “managers” (us, the volunteers) and over 100 fans, who were cheering for their corresponding class and even brought some pots to use as a form of percussion to get some entertainment going!
One of the teacher was the referee and one of the oldest students was the linesman waving a small branch with leaves instead of the flag. How creative!! 🙂
We had books for the winning teams and pens for the teams who came last to ensure everyone was happy.
The ball was donated to the school and kids were ecstatic to be able to play with a proper ball from now on.
The evening ended with children stealing us a promise of having another match before leaving The Gambia where volunteers would play against teachers.
I have a feeling that we will be struggling to compete with them!!”