Hello...I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to visit you last week. We dedicated two full weeks for the actual Street Child World Cup; Hub was working very long hours and I was volunteering as a translator every day. We were beyond exhausted and I just couldn't muster the energy to write. I still don't feel 100%, but it was a beautiful experience for me. I only hope I can convey everything in two parts.
Street Child World Cup took place at Espaco Lonier, a private events camp with dormitories, football pitches, swimming pools with slides in Barra. The space was surrounded by mountains and was very relaxing. I couldn't wait to see the reaction from the kiddos who I imagine for many, this would be a luxury. We tried to give the teams a warm and cheerful welcoming and so we rallied together as each team arrived, clapping and chanting things like "Ole, ole, ole..."
I have to say that meeting and getting to know the teams was the highlight for me. We had 8 girls teams and 15 boys teams and I really bonded with a few of them over the 10-day period. It goes without saying that each team had their own unique traits which was ingrained with their culture, but it was so interesting to see them react differently to the whole experience. And they were each so visually striking, different and beautiful...here are just a few photos of the kids.
|Team Brazil Boys|
|Team El Salvador|
|Team South Africa|
We had live commentators at all the matches and some were fantastic and others were a bit dud, but they all manage to get one thing right....GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!! It really got the crowd going, but not nearly as much as seeing the kids celebrate goals in their own special way. I mean that was just pure money.
|Team Brazil: I can't hear you!|
|Team El Salvador: Hey Macarena!|
|Team Nicaragua: The Tackle|
|Team Philippines: A little prayer|
In the beginning the kids were shy and kept to the their teams, but gradually they opened up and friendships formed between the different countries. It was fascinating to watch them bond through the experience and to communicate without a common language between them.
|Team India loved Team USA|
|Team USA & Team India|
|Team Brazil & Team Philippines|
|Team Burundi & Team Philippines|
|Team Mozambique cheering on Team El Salvador|
|Team Brazil and Team Mozambique cheering up Team Nicaragua, |
who were knocked out of the semi finals
One of the highlights was seeing how the teams supported each other, like Zimbabwe helping Indonesia score a few goals and then both teams celebrating together with a cheeky dance and piggy back rides. Or here when Team Nicaragua, Team Brazil and Team Mozambique started celebrating something...I can't remember now, but it was fun.