2019 granted us with a new destination, the Ivory Coast, the world’s main cacao producer. Our trip was mainly based on getting to know the area of Abidjan, the economic capital and the country’s largest city.
The expedition left Catalonia on the 11th April, to start its new African adventure with the same plan followed each year: play a match against Africa Sports, participate in the ‘Per Un Somriure’ project founded by the G.A Homes de Demain Foundation and spend a few days getting to know the reality of this new country.
Once settled in Grand Bassam, and after having learnt some history on some of the most distinguished people par excellence of the colonial neighbourhood of Abidjan, such as the King of the traditional kingdom of Mossou, the expedition got ready to play Sunday’s match on the 14th April against Africa Sports.
The team was set to play at the Robert Champroux stadium, where the G.A Homes de Demain Foundation had organised a friendly match beforehand, between ex-footballers and supporters of the foundation, who played against sports journalists of Ivory Coast.
Once this finished, the game between Africa Sports vs Ramassà began. With the children of the ‘Per Un Somriure’ project present, who strengthened the team, the event began with the traditional handover of roses to the opposing team, commemorating Saint George.
For the first time in 6 years, Ramassà reached half time in the lead with 0-2, with a penalty from Ruben Romera and a goal from Marc Larripa. After attempting to stay in the lead, the heat, exhaustion and rival intensity took effect and the final score ended up being 2-2, an achievement for the club.
During the first few days in the Ivory Coast, the team also made the most of the invitation given by the Spanish embassy to visit the headquarters, where the project had received lots of praise for treating sport as a tool for social integration of children in situations of economic vulnerability.
The G.A Foundation Homes de Demain’s project ‘Per Un Somriure’ was a project that we were delighted to discover first-hand. Just as we do each year, we published the solidarity story
‘Per un Somriure’, which spoke about and explained the true story of the protagonists of the foundation we going to visit, which enabled us to familiarise ourselves with some of the cases before our arrival.
The foundation, ran by Charlotte Chamarier and her husband Philippe Argoud, has carried out aid projects for children with different degrees of disabilities, both physical and mental, for many years now. This causes them to be greatly discriminated, seeing as their own families disregard them, in many cases because they require more care than other children from whom they can benefit from to make more income, and because they are deemed to give them bad luck.
The campaign ‘Per un Somriure’ bought orthopaedic equipment (prosthesis, wheelchairs and mobility assistive devices) to improve mobility and access to education for 50 children with different degrees of disability.
The A.E Ramassà expedition had a great time with these children that day. After delivering almost a ton of sports and school supplies and after putting the 18,000-euro financial aid on paper for this year’s project, the workshops began, which has now become tradition. Painting, dance, football, traditional games… there were many types of activities to help them learn from one another. This year’s novelty was decorating the school walls which was done during the workshop, encouraged by Ramassà, the Foundation and concepts associated with the project we implemented.
To end the trip and to familiarise ourselves with the local culture, we went to Grand-Lahou, where we got to see the city’s colonial past, we visited the Natural Park of Azagny, a community of women who make tapioca, work on rubber plantations and run a palm oil producing company.
After spending a few days in the Ivory Coast and after the experiences lived, it was time to go home. The relationship between Ramassà and the African continent improves each year. We will now start working on next year’s trip!