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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.



IBIZA | RAQUEL SANCHEZ

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 www.footballsmiles.com. 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!