The traffic enforces our adherence to “Africa-time”. We leave Arthur and Sanna de Leeuw’s house — many thanks for letting us stay with you guys — with Joe Karanga navigating the potholed roads and insane congestion of Nairobi for our first appointment of the day at Kenyatta University.
The sun is blazing already as we arrive and are greeted by Peter Wanderi, a university lecturer who introduces us to his colleagues who volunteer with Special Olympics. We are introduced to a large group of parents of athletes, who are huddled in the only shade around, provided by a small tree at the edge of the playing field where their children are getting sports coaching.
Andrew speaks to them about The Ball and its mission and we are impressed to learn that they have formed their own support network as a result of showing up along with their children every week. They are supported whole-heartedly by staff and students from the university. This really is an extended family. All are invited to sign The Ball — with the usual condition that they kick or head it first. Headers are delivered in quick succession.
Then we are mobbed by the children. There are just too may of them to consider going one by one so we devise a solution. An enormous circle is formed, and The Ball is knocked around allowing everyone to have a touch and a turn in the middle. Then a mass signing takes place: five markers and more than a hundred children with Andrew in the middle somewhere.
The smiles and laughter are testament to the power of The Ball to bring a little light into every situation.