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So my husband jets half way around the world to manage his team in an international football competition in Rio and I’m left back in Mwanza! Oh well the life of a wag!!!
In all seriousness Rob is not exactly having the holiday that it seems, he started his journey last Tuesday 25th March at 3.40am! He left me at this early hour to collect the 10 boys (plus 3 support staff) to catch their first mode of transport (a daladala -a local minibus) and then catch their coach that would take them to Dar Es Salaam. So I waved goodbye and rolled over to sleep again only to be woken up 15mins later to discover he had left 3 football boots at our house (I still can’t work out why there were 3!!) so he popped back in at 4.20 to collect them and then they caught their coach and were off! The journey to Dar from Mwanza is 1127km (according to google) and should take 14 hours and 35 minutes, I think it took them slightly longer due to a puncture midway, but they finally arrived at around 10pm (so about 16.5 hours). From what I gather the journey was fairly squashed and hot:
They settled into the hotel, had a very late dinner and went to sleep! The next day was filled with tasks such as collecting tickets, insurance documents and going to the Serena Hotel for a press conference. Thursday 27th March was D-day! the team visited the state house (unfortunately the president couldn’t be there… as he was preparing to fly to the UK I believe) and then they headed to Julius Nyerere International Airport to continue their journey to Rio (via Dubai). Check-in was all easy (Rob took the longest at immigration!) and the boys were on their first flight!
After a 7.5 hour stop-over in Dubai, where they met up with teams from Burundi, Kenya, Egypt, Philippines and Pakistan they boarded their final plane to Rio – a Mammoth 14.5 hour flight (interestingly shorter than their bus ride to Dar!!) They received an amazing welcome in Rio airport:
The boys (and Rob) were shattered by this point, they were presented with their official kit for the tournament and went to bed!
The next day (Saturday) was the first real day of the conference, focusing on the “Team of Life”. After lunch, thanks to the (BT Sport) Supporters Club their training session was visited by Former Arsenal and Brazil legend Gilberto Silva. During the afternoon the team continued in their conference sessions.
Sunday came with the opening ceremony and the teams opening game against our neighbours Burundi. I know that Rob was slightly nervous about this game because the Burundi players are all a lot bigger than our Tanzanian boys! But the boys did a great job and the match finished 2-2!
On Monday the boys had an early get-up with a trip to visit Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer Statue and also The Maracena stadium, unfortunately they arrived too late at the stadium to have an official tour, which was quite a disappointment for them.
Tuesday brought 2 games in which the boys were triumphant 3:0 against Argentina and 2:0 against Nicaragua. I am afraid that not being quite so enthusiastic about football I won’t be giving you blow-by-blow accounts of the games! On Wednesday they visited one of the pacified favelas “Vidigal”.The community has worked hard there through using sports and creative arts to become a safe thriving community.
Today the boys have been playing again, they lost their final group game 2:0 against the strong Philippine team. Hopefully they have done enough to continue into the quarter finals!
For further updates you can read Rob’s blog on the TSC website: http://tscacademy.org/street-child-world-cup-day-1-arrival/
The street child world cup site has loads of videos and photos as well as all of the results:
I am so proud of Rob, he is working flat-out and is exhausted, his work here is Mwanza is non-stop with seemingly endless issues that arise. He is constantly battling and getting beaten down, but he is doing such an amazing job. A current battle is over the fact that some members of the team think that winning is the main point of the tournament, unfortunately here, winning is the most important thing. They just don’t get it! The boys are out there to experience something that they never would have the chance to, the idea is that they are empowered by their experience and come back to Tanzania with stories that can inspire and help other children living on the streets.
I have been trying to enthuse my students about supporting the Tanzanian team and it was great on Monday to hear my year 8 class ask excitedly how the team were doing, and today in assembly when I announced the scores the hall filled with clapping which again made feel so pleased that people do care. Unfortunately I was also maddened when I heard that another teacher had commented that ‘we shouldn’t support the SCWC because we shouldn’t celebrate street children!’, at first when I heard this I was furious and wanted to speak to him myself, but after reflection I realised all over again that some people here just don’t get it!! The street child world cup isn’t about winning or celebrating street children, it is about making the world wake-up and realise that there are millions of children that live and work on the streets, and there shouldn’t be!! The street child world cup is there to encourage these young people to realise that they are somebody, and they matter!
They are all doing such a great job, despite the stress and pressures I know that Rob is loving being there because the SCWC team are so wonderful and caring, and above all they get it! They are there to campaign for street children to receive the protection and opportunities that all children deserve.