the riveting final
"Youth - Gender - Soccer" or "How to find the Lost Youth".
The torrential rains held back on that mid-August Sunday afternoon in Chepkanga. The finals of the youth soccer tournament took place free of mud - a miracle of the rainy season. After scoreless overtime and sudden death penalty kicks, with excitement coursing through our veins, we felt the heightened interest of the youth for what we had to say. This was RAFIKI YA MAISHA's great opportunity to advertize the village polytechnic.
This year's tournament galvanized the youth and the community and thrilled our young volunteer organizers.
2 youth representatives came forward to fill seats on the Board of RAFIKI YA MAISHA and 28 new students signed up for training courses. The freshly arrrived government instructors offered Food Processing, Fashion Design, Information Technology, Electric and Electronic Technology courses along with general education classes.
We also learned a lesson about gender equality on the soccer field that Sunday. One of the two girls' teams had not showed up to play the scheduled game thereby making one team the winner by default. A question came up : if the girls had not played hard to earn the prize, why should they receive the coveted jerseys & shorts ? "A ball could do as a prize. And afterall, we played more games under harsh weather conditions and could use a full uniform", argued the boys. After much debate between the girl athletes, their male coach and us, it was decided that the girls needed encouragement as well as the right to safekeep their very own uniforms !
Idle boys drift to the pool houses and bars and can rally around soccer easily. Idle girls mostly stay home and are harder to reach. Our pictures show how successful our 2d annual tounament was and our story tells how it marked a place for the girls in the community.
The temproray building on the site is still unfinfished, the road remains impassable during the rains and the land swap has only just been concluded. Yet the center has opened with a new beginning.
Thank You for helping us reach this point. Thank You for anything that you can do to help us further our building and our educational mission. The happpy smiles of the players say Thank You ! too.
the chief's speach to the youth
the winning girls' team
the winning boys' team