Engaging with the local kids in free soccer clinics run by our American volunteers is probably one of the most rewarding thing we do with Save-A-Thon. Especially considering the lengthy, and probably a little boring, launch event and press conference the day before, the ladies (and my kids!) were ready to get out and have a blast playing soccer.
We arrived sort of on time (which is punctual for Africa!) and found over 100 kids waiting for us. Some were in their soccer uniforms ad some in their school uniforms but they were all smiling, if a little unsure of what to expect, and seemed happy to be there. Our team was also a little unsure of what the day would bring but as they were the entire trip they jumped right in and made the day great! By the time we ended there were more “groupies” (group selfies?) than at a Taylor Swift concert. 😉
By the time we were ready to start the clinic–we waited for at least 30 minutes for the crew to go buy oil to run the generator so the mic would work so I could gather everyone–we divided the growing group of kids, now 250?, into six groups so each RSL-W player could run a drill and we got started. The kids loved being with our players but I felt badly that we had so many kids and not enough players or time to maximize the experience for them. According to the follow-up survey with the players we also needed more balls! But in any case, we made the most of what we had (the African way really) and had a fantastic day.
By the time we needed to get on the road to head to the orphanage I think we had all had enough of the relentless sun and oppressive heat and there were likely 400 kids now at the clinic. They just kept coming. Evidence of the popularity of our clinic colliding with the difficulty in managing the traffic in Lagos. All in all a very memorable day for everyone and another successful effort to engage the community and raise awareness of Save-A-Thon.