Soccer and Sexual Health July 7, 2010  by      

From Cassie Ludwig, CFK 2010 Fellow:

Today was the day of yet another soccer tournament, only this time it was the girls finals. Jess and I went early to help out and set up nets, sign in the teams, sort uniforms, put chalk down for lines on the field (literally picking chalk up out of a bag and dropping it along a string pulled tight to make a line across and around the field and near the goal; if you see someone walking through Kibera with a distinct white spot on their heads, it’s not lice, but chalk from heading a soccer ball).

We made a journey to pick up a list that was needed for the tournament over to Alice’s house in Makina (the first village in Kibera, where the Nubian soldiers were given temporary housing to live in after world war 2) and she graciously showed us around her home and introduced us to her mother who was washing clothes outside of her house close by. Upon our return to the field, we then lost ourselves amidst a pack of youths who had come to watch the games and/or were playing later and who were interested in asking us questions and trying to get us to dance to the overwhelmingly loud Kenyan music blasting through the speakers on to the field.

When the kids got bored with us and gradually went back to watching the games, we sat down next to the field waiting for our next task. When a 20ish year old man named Abdul came over to ask us if we would like to help and if we were volunteers, we nodded and followed happily assuming he was also helping with the tournament. It turns out we volunteered to help teach girls playing in the games about sexual reproductive health and to answer any questions they might have. We were put in a group with a couple other students from universities in Kenya, and submerged in a Kiswahili conversation about SRH.

After a long day at the tournament Kelly (new intern in for the month who just finished her first year in Med School at UNC), Anna, Jess and I ended the evening watching Spain beat Paraguay after some crazy yellow cards and calls in a restaurant/bar in Prestige. I don’t really like soccer, but I have grown to love the world cup with all the spirit around the games. In the world cup, people are unified in their countries and even continents, around one game with one ball. I still, however, believe it’s absurd that you can’t use your hands.

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