A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity August 5, 2013  by      

By: Suzanne Thomson, CFK Organizational Consultant

It’s not every day that youth from Kibera get to travel to the U.S; in fact, the opportunity to do so is incredibly rare and usually comes at a cost.  Getting there is a trial, one that involves a lot of paperwork, money, and what is considered to be a good reason for going.  But I would say that being selected to compete in an international jump rope tournament is a pretty good reason.

This past July, Carolina for Kibera’s jump rope team, the CFK Sprinters, got the opportunity to go to Orlando, Florida to participate in World Jump Rope’s (www.worldjumprope.org) annual World Championship Tournament & Camp.  Hosted at the University of Central Florida, the competition brought together jumpers from all over the world to learn from each other and compete in both individual and team events.  With support from CFK partner, One World One Rope (www.oneworldonerope.org), along with your help, our jumpers from Kibera were able to travel to the U.S., and make friends with and compete against jumpers from countries like France, Canada, Tanzania, Japan, Brazil, and the U.S., to name a few.

Jump_Rope_Group_Airport_Caitlin_Kleiboer [Edited]

The CFK Sprinters, about to embark to the U.S.! From L to R: Ida (11), Diana (13), Jackline (14), Coach David (22), Christine (13), and Margaret, Deputy Headmistress at Old Kibera Primary School. Photo by: Caitlin Kleiboer

Back in Kibera at the CFK office, we waited anxiously for any news coming from the tournament.  It turns out that jumpers Ida (11), Christine (14), Diana (15), and Jackline (17) did remarkably well in their events, especially for a tournament of this magnitude.  Diana placed 2nd out of 75 girls, aged 17 and younger, in her Individual Freestyle routine.  Jump rope is a fairly young sport in Kibera; for Diana to place higher than many competitors who have been jumping for 7-10 years is a tremendous accomplishment!  Ida and Christine both placed 6th in their age brackets for their Individual Freestyle routines as well, and all four jumpers placed 7th in their Double Dutch Pairs Freestyle routine.  It is clear that all of their hard work and practice has certainly paid off, and we congratulate them on their results!

When the team returned from the tournament a couple of weeks later, it took some time to catch up with Ida and the team’s coach, David, but we were finally able to sit down together during a cool, cloudy afternoon in Nairobi.  When I excitedly asked them about their trip, they told me that the whole team had a wonderful time, especially during the skills camp with the other jumpers.  Everyone on the team was very happy to have connected with new friends from other countries.  And even though young Ida didn’t win a medal, she said that some of her new friends from around the world shared a medal with her.

Very happy and grateful to have had the chance to visit the U.S. and further hone their skills, the team was also happy to be back in Kenya where they are sharing their unforgettable experience and what they learned with their friends.  Next time the CFK Sprinters get invited to a tournament, they will be even more prepared to show off their talent and learn even more.


7 responses to “A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity”

  1. brandyn says:

    quite an awesome experience.

  2. Sam says:

    Opportunities like this are always incredible. When Uganda attended the Little League Tournament the reception towards them was incredible and it was fantastic to see the kids interact with the other kids.
    Any international sport tournament is always fantastic for kids, because regardless of whether or not they speak the same language, they can always communicate through the game they have in common.
    Hillsborough, NC

  3. Ky-Jzir says:

    I think it is pretty cool that the people from Kibera get an chance like this to go compete and travel the world instead of just staying around where their from.

  4. Jraed says:

    I’m a student from Hillsborough,Nc and i’m learning about slum life in my class. Its nice to see kids who live in the slum’s get such a great experience and get outside of the slums and see the rest of the world.

  5. Ben says:

    I’m a student in Hillsborough, NC and we have been learning about Slums in class. I think that it is great to see a program from NC that is helping areas struck by poverty and sending equipment for sports and teams and finally sending kids around the world doing what they love, which in this case is jump roping.

  6. Nate says:

    I’m a student in Hillsborough, NC doing a response for a Global Issues class and I think its amazing that some kids from the slums of Kibera can get the opportunity to show what they can actually do. And the fact that one of them can place second at a World Jump Rope championship shows that they have a lot that they can offer, despite where they live or how.

  7. Bradley says:

    It is great to hear about the successes of the CFK jump rope team! I am a student in Hillsborough,NC taking a global issues class which is where I learned about this. A question I have is what is CFK doing to try and expand the jump rope program in Kibera. Obviously the program was a huge success for these young athletes and could be very beneficial to other children in Kibera.

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