Uganda, the pearl of Africa, was the team’s third adventure to Africa, a milestone moment in our trajectory. Why you ask? Because we got to meet Victor Ochen, one of Africa’s main activists. He was the first Ugandan and the youngest African to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and is now the current United Nations Ambassador for Global Projects. After growing up in a war-torn country and after becoming a child soldier, he founded the African Youth Initiative Network in 2005. He has been working for more than 15 years so that the children of today can become peace brokers.
Ochen, intrigued by the solidarity work we were doing in Africa, honoured us by declaring us ambassadors of the challenge he pioneers for in the United Nations through his association Peace, Justice and Security Foundation. This association promotes peace and social integration for sustainable development, making access to justice possible and the construction of institutions inclusive, responsible and effective on all levels.
Our rival was Kampala Capital City Authority FC, champion of the Ugandan league in 2013 and 2014. The match was played at the Nelson Mandela Olympic Stadium, with a total of 45,000 spectators and a final score of 2-0 to the locals. This bad luck was down to the fact that two hours after, on the same pitch, Uganda’s under 21’s team would play against Ruanda’s team, and the Federation of African Football stated that, due to security measures, no match can be played two hours before an official match.
The handover of roses and books to the rival team and directors was a nostalgic moment. This was because the match took place on the 23rd April, St George’s Day. We did not want to disown one of the most beautiful Catalan traditions, even if we were thousands of miles away from home. This is why we thought it would be a good idea to give an example of traditional Catalan culture by carrying out a symbolic act of giving roses and books.
The match ended with a victory for Kampala Capital City Authority FC, but we still celebrated. The response from the press and the rival fans was incredible. When we arrived in the capital of Uganda the next day, there was a news conference with the local media to present the match.
The atmosphere on the streets was crazy. People stopped us and asked us for autographs and photos, and they danced and sung for us.
A record trip! Our trips to Africa are more and more well-known, the Vallès county is bowled over by this initiative. Thanks to the peoples’ and local companies’ support and selfless collaboration, we were able to travel to one of the poorest countries in the world, with 600 kilos of school and sports supplies and more than 1500 euros.
Some of the sports supplies were given to the Kampala Capital City Authority FC reserve team, to train wannabe young footballers.
The rest was given to two schools in the country: a school for deaf-mute children, where we were taught sign language, and another school for orphaned children, where they welcomed us singing the national anthem acapella. In both places we played with the children and got to see the facilities they have, and we shared special moments with them.
We have to give our visit to the NGO Petits Detalls an honorary mention, it is a non-profit organisation that promotes humanitarian aid and international cooperation projects in Uganda. With them we visited one of the two biggest projects led by its founder, Quico Germain, who is only 20 years old: Mupenzi, an orphan who has 40 children over the age of 3 who live in inhumane conditions, nowadays, thanks to everyone’s help and work, can enjoy a dignified childhood and a fair life. They have an education, they are fed, they have access to health care and more importantly, they can decide their own futures.
Do you want to see what the players experienced during their trip to Ethiopia? VOTV has put together an emotional documentary about the adventure. Enjoy!