Way back in March, as I was returning from doing all the preparatory work for FootBallSmiles Africa, I met a special young man for a cup of coffee in London.
It was another one of those crazy serendipitous connections that happen all the time. He had heard about our project through friends and had decided he wanted to help in some way.
He offered to send some football equipment from a professional club in England, but, only at the end of the season, as it was actually in use.
I found a safe address to send the material to in Mozambique, calculating that it should arrive by June, when we would be there.
June came and went, we passed through Mozambique, went on to watch Spain win the World Cup in South Africa and, on the eve of the final I received an email saying that a box had arrived in at the Embassy of Malta office in Maputo!
Well, how about that!
Just when we thought our FBS Africa was over, we had one last promise to keep.
Jordi’s back was still giving him problems and it was a crazy plan to begin with, but, a promise is a promise!
After the World Cup Final, with two winks of sleep, I got on the bus to Maputo. Estimated travel time 8 hours. Real travel time: 11 hours with the driver threatening to leave all passengers without visas at the border.
The reason was that not only were they implementing a new visa system, but, the woman was having her first training day!
In the end, I made it, but, the 5 Brazilians on the other bus had to take a taxi for the remaining 90 kilometres.
When I got to Maputo all the backpacker hostels were full so I found a funky place within the budget and had a short sleep.
The next morning, Tuesday, July 13th, I was up to go and pick the box up before meeting with Right To Play, an organisation that works all over the world forming coaches and donating sports equipment.
They had arranged for me to visit two of the schools they work with, one at 10 am in a poor neighborhood in Maputo and one at 2 pm in the village of Goba, on the border with Swaziland!
Of course, we did not get to either place on time, but, hey! This is Africa and we are adapting!
Actually it was partly my fault as I had been unable to pick the box up the evening before, thanks to the bus trip.
Anyway, both schools were great fun as you can see from the photos and I got back to Maputo at past 6 in the evening, slightly tired to say the least!
At 7 the next morning, I was on the bus back to Johannesburg to pick my bags up and make my evening flight to Dubai, Paris and finally, Ibiza.
Luckily the bus trip took a bit less than 8 hours and I am writing this in Dubai airport!
Once again, I have to thank all of the people who made this happen as well as all the people who have so generously shared with all of the African children.
A special thanks to Jay and Watford for donating and shipping the infamous box!
A Muito Obrigado to Alexandra and Doutora Gizela and the Embassy of Malta in Maputo.
To Francois for putting us in contact with Alexandra who was our most precious asset in Mozambique.
And of course to Right To Play for making the time for FootBallSmiles!