Monday, April 19, 2010

Footballs for Africa

The trip was supposed to start on April 15 ...

But, Iceland has said that we must wait!

The cloud of ash that has paralyzed all flights in northern Europe has stopped our departure until further notice.

To make the most out of our wait, we managed to receive 28 balls donated in a weekend with friends!

The birthday party of our friend Javi at the Ibiza Paintball was an exceptional solidarity demonstration for Footballsmiles!

Thank you everybody!

For those who are not on Ibiza or do not speak Spanish, this is the article that appeared in the Diario de Ibiza on Thursday 15 April:

Goals and smiles shared in Africa

Two Ibiza locals intend to convey the joy of soccer to children in Kenya, Mozambique and Ethiopia giving them balls through the NGO that they have created in Sant Joan.


FootBallSmiles's story begins 20 years ago in a bar in Sant Joan, where Jordi Tirurit and Melchior Arnold, then aged 18, met with their friends to watch the 1990 World Cup games together. They were impressed by the performance of Cameroon: "They had a very good World Cup, had a player who was already 45 years old and we loved the look of the stands at their games, could see even tribal sorcerers among the public", they remember now. At that time, the gang promised that when the World Cup were held in Africa they would go to experience it live. Two decades later, Jordi and Melchior are proud to fulfill that pact.

The passion for football they share in common stems from early childhood. Laughingly they define themselves as "retired players." The two were part of different teams on the island (Portmany and Ibiza) and have also worked training the kids in Sant Joan voluntarily. Travel is another "vice" in common. They have visited Cambodia, Bolivia and India as volunteers. They say they do not like being mere tourists, but to integrate with the local people, eat what they eat and sleep where they sleep. "Jordi always gets to play wherever there is a ball and a child," said Melchior, who has been a reporter in different countries and has had the opportunity to travel as a player.

They are determined to reach South Africa for the gala opening of the soccer event and want to make it traveling in their own way, for that they have charted a route that will begin this week in Ethiopia and that will take them to Cape Town where they hope to reach by the 15 of June. Thinking of making this journey by bus, using the same means as the inhabitants of the countries they traverse, and that in most cases have not classified for the World Cup. Melchior and Jordi want to 'share the joy of football' with the children of those countries and to do so will visit three orphanages in each of the countries covered (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa). At each site will donate 10 regulation balls, they plan to buy the balls in these countries to save transport costs and promote local businesses.

Their adventure can be followed daily on So what would be an adventure of two childhood friends, has ended by becoming a charity project 'with its own life and grows on its own. " To do FootBallSmiles they have created an NGO, based in Sant Joan de Labritja. The first gift they have received to bring smiles to children in Africa has been the City of Sant Joan, which has donated 50 balls for the expedition. But in addition to various businesses and clubs on the island have offered to assist in the initiative. The Penya Independent, for example, is giving away sports equipment for kids. Jordi and Melchior have calculated that every ball can cost around 10 euros and have opened an account at Sa Nostra where those who wish can make a donation to buy a ball.

And here is a link in Spanish that explains why we are giving away balls: Digital Magazine

Greetings and smiles!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ideas, contacts and more

Thank you also to these wonderful friends...

Hector from Banco Sa Nostra for all the help with the non-profit account. Gracias Amic!

Jen and Tripping for total inspiration and help!

Fox, Roli, Paul and Famiglia, Noce et Famille, Rossetti, Tina e Monica

The Goodwin Family, especially Sebastian who so generously gave me his bedroom!

Udi and Lena of ArtFactory for doing all the web site and design as a donation.

Tom of Kickabout Africa for inviting me to join on his wonderful trip from Germany to Cape Town and for countless other times he has helped and inspired me.

Romain and Thomas of Maisvousetesfoot for sharing all of their wonderful experiences after 18 months travelling around the world with football as a means of meeting people.

Tahuichi for showing me how easy it is to make a child smile... just give the child a ball!

Dee for many hours of cyber-brainstorming, advice and the name as well as being the first to donate.

Sonia for helping set up the non-profit account and status.

Hari for encouraging we add Ethiopia to our itinerary and for the assistance there.

Shanti for excellent contacts in Tanzania.

Francois for pushing me to more excellence (still have a long way, eh!) and for the help with Mozambique.

Jonno of LuxuryGoaVillas for being supportive of the whole project the whole time.

Laura and David for providing a surge of totally unexpected extra motivation.

Jordi and Vanessa for joining in and making sure this did not fizzle out.

Thank you! Gracias! Merci!

The beautiful thing is that this list is only at the beginning and we know we will keep on adding to it constantly!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Footballsmiles Donators

Thank you! Gracias! Merci! Danke! Asante!


Jose Kiosko, Sant Joan

Maria Jose Estarellas, Sant Joan

Familia Pep Mari, Sant Joan

Vicent Bassaroja, Sant Joan

Lucas, Ibiza

Miguel Angel Medina

Leah and Jose, Ibiza

Hopi Steiner, Australia

Tripping International, USA

Michelle and Bill O'Neal, USA

Paticherie, Ibiza

Marlon, Ilona and Arik, Ibiza

Llorenc Pla Roig, Ibiza

Maria Pla Roig, Ibiza

Merche, Madrid

Andrea Bellini, Switzerland

P.Deportiva Santa Eulalia, Ibiza

Ayuntamiento de Santa Eulalia, Ibiza

Sienna Rose Mills Jung, Ibiza

Estudio Isla Blanca, Ibiza

Matthias Gonzalez, Argentina

Keiko James, USA

Ramon Tur, Ibiza

Anscha Hagen

DJ Vidal, Ibiza

JuanJo Rincon Green, Ibiza

Pepe Roig, Ibiza

Fiesta Ripi, Ibiza

Senna, Ibiza

Uncle Joel

Jordi, Joan y Toni Planells Castello' of Ca'n Curune'

Penya Independent Sant Joan

Sant Joan de Labritja Mayor's Office

Karuna and Lorenzo


Swami and Nikki

Teresa Arilla

Noce, Sofia and Gavriel

FC Espanol Neuchatel



Famiglia Rizza

Isaac Schneider

Travel expenses!

Laura Aboli and David Leppan

Hopi Steiner

Hamish and Annie


Goran Musulin


Laura Aboli and David Leppan

Hopi Steiner




Karuna and Lorenzo

Cafe Vista Alegre