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