When I woke up this morning I had no idea what I was about to discover. Us being Americans, there are things in life that we never have to deal with or that don't even cross ours mind as possibilities. But today we experienced first hand how tough life really is for some.
The first place we visited today was an orphanage full of young boys and girls. Wether they were new borns or teenagers, all of these kids were living life without a mother or and father. Within moments of our arrival, a truck pulled in and two men stepped out. They were carrying two newborn babies that had just been found on the side of the street. Sometimes in Ethiopia, the living conditions are so bad that mothers will purposely leave their babies on the street in hope they he or she will be found and brought to an orphanage to live a better life than the mother could have given them. It was pretty heart-rending to see these little kids living life without the affection of a mom or dad, and unfortunately, many of them will be brought into the orphanage as babies and stay there until they are grown.
From one bunch of kids to the next, we headed to a community called Entoto Mountain. Entono Mountain is like Korah, but without the trash dump as a source of food. People on this mountain are truly living with nothing. But without fail, left, right, center, you name it, there was soccer games going on. A little boy and girl juggled to the right and a small sided game was played on the left. We headed to the back though where there was a crowd of ten or fifteen boys were playing pick up. They caught a glimpse of us and stopped their game. I pointed to my feet and said, "Can I play with you?" Their faces lit up and they all waved their arms and said yes. I hopped onto the field and they let me right into the game. Their field may have been dirt and their goals may have been tree stumps , but the they were having the time of their lives out there with us. Nutmegs, maradonas, through balls, snakes, you name it, we were doing it. And we were smiling and laughing from the second we started to the second we stopped.
After a game to five, the boys gathered around and pointed to their ball. They said "ball, help." At first I didn't understand but then saw the huge bubble in the ball. The outer skin had ripped from use and the rubber inside was sticking out, making the ball lopsided. The boys had their hands together, shaking them in front of their faces. Jordan and I looked at each other and grinned. "New ball? New ball." They boys went nuts. They drowned us in hugs and high fives because they were getting a new ball.
72 hours ago, to me, it was just a soccer ball. Now, I understand that to some kids across the world, a ball is everything.