Have we mentioned that the kids at New Life Homes LOVE soccer? You can find them playing soccer at recess every day, and we even have our own soccer field (part of the pasture) and competitive soccer team. The problem is, with terrain like ours in rural Swaziland, the balls don’t last long. Traditional soccer balls will last a few weeks at best. That’s why we were so excited when a friend here told us about One World Futbols. These soccer balls are made especially for kids living in third-world conditions—where rocks, mud, and cow patties are part of the sport. My mom made a brief inquiry to the company to see if they would donate some balls for the kids, and we were shocked to receive such a generous and speedy reply. They wanted to donate 20 soccer balls.
Shipping became the most obvious obstacle, since the balls don’t actually deflate. Tommy’s parents bravely volunteered to transport 20 official-size soccer balls from California to Swaziland when they came to visit us in September. Nothing like adding some extra stress to your typical travel concerns! Their gigantic duffle bag caused a few raised eyebrows at customs and several requests to deflate the balls, but they did arrive to the farm safely, much to the joy of the children here.
We laughed at their initial comments about the balls.
“It feels like kicking a stone.” (Obviously not used to fully-inflated balls.)
“Sit on it!” (Marveling at the engineering.)
“This thing is a soccer ball?” (Skeptical of the color and material.)
Needless to say, they were a huge hit. Each of our classrooms has their own ball, as well as each of the orphan homes. We’ve also stashed a few away for the future. We (and the kids) are extremely grateful to my family for requesting them, One World Futbols for donating them, and Tommy’s parents for lugging them half way around the world. The kids have received so much joy from this gift!