Wonderful World of Marsabit, Kenya
July 15, 2013. A six-hour ride in a mutatu, another five hours traveling on unpaved
road, an encounter with an ostrich family of thirty-some offspring, and we finally arrived in Marsabit. The town, located in remote Northern Kenya, is a complete 180 degree turnaround from Nairobi’s crowded, noisy city streets. In Marsabit, we found ourselves under a blanket of stars (which only became brighter when the power went out), and lulled to sleep each night by the music and prayers emanating from the local mosque.
Coach Brian left early Wednesday morning to head to the next CAC program in Tanzania, but Coaches Charlie, AJ, and Megan managed to run the program just fine, even without “dad” around. We worked with HODI’s U-13 and U-16 girls and boys teams, their coaches, and a group of peer educators who work in local schools. The Kenyan public school teachers are still on strike, which meant that we were able to work with the younger players all day. Sessions ran in both the morning and the afternoon, oftentimes alongside some combination of cattle, sheep, or donkeys. Two main problems that the group identified in their community are tribalism and restrictive attitudes towards girls playing sports. As a result, we focused on games for conflict resolution and gener equity throughout the week.
It was great to hear the young coaches and players use their voices more and more as the week went on. As the week progressed, we also saw more and more girls come to the pitch wearing soccer shorts rather than longer skirts. Despite the fact that many of our participants started fasting for Ramadan this week, they brought boundless energy and enthusiasm to the field each day. We had a great time collaborating with HODI for the second year in a row, and we hope that the young leaders that we worked with will use the games and skills that they learned this week to help bring change to their community.