This is the Sixth in a series of Blogs that will go through, in detail, what our first ever project achieved, how we set it up, who we worked with, problems we faced, lessons we learned, personal memories and more.
With a hugely successful football competition unfolding, under the watchful eyes of Ellis and Mr Ozaki, the rest of the Kicking Off team were busy with the other, incredibly important things we were aiming to provide on tournament day.
Arguably, the most important part of the day was the on the medical side. SVG Africa had found us three amazing nurses, experienced at working with the local children, who knew exactly what to look for when it came to treating and diagnosing their ailments. At some point soon, our footage from the medical tent will be ready for the world to see, but we also have interviews with each of the nurses, that add insight into their roles. As each team was ‘herded’ to the medical tent by Dom, over the microphone, the nurses were able to medical check, over the course of the day, the 300 or so children that were at the tournament.
As a result of the medical checks, the nurses were able to diagnose and treat six cases of Malaria, give out treatment to 150 children for parasitic abdominal worms, give out around 250 sets of Multivitamins to encourage healthy growth, and just generally fix up normal ailments, such as cuts and grazes, headaches, stomach pains, etc.
Whilst Malaria is not a curable disease, by returning to do a Kicking Off tournament three or four times a year, we should eventually be able to keep all the children involved clear of Malaria for years to come. The extremely common parasitic worms are caused by drinking dirty water: over time we hope our work in the area will remove the need for children to drink dirty water! Multivitamins are a perfect way to ensure that all children involved in Kicking Off’s tournaments have something to replace key vitamins missing from their poor/ absent diets.
For our first trip, the nurses helped us to achieve so much. We were also grateful, once again, to SVG Africa for helping us find a cheap supplier of medicines and first aid kits in the nearby town of Nkaw Kaw.
Alongside the medical checks, we wanted to ensure that all the children playing/ spectating at the tournament had access to a good meal and enough clean water to stay hydrated throughout the day. This involved Emmanuel, from SVG Africa, heroically doing about four trips to the rice and chicken restaurant! Overall, we gave out 300 chicken and rice meals and 450 litres of water!
Alongside all the serious stuff, we also wanted to make sure the children had a great day! I can admit I was a bit focused on all the serious stuff, so thanks to Hattie for sorting some great football stencils and face paint, which the kids loved, along with bubbles and other random things which gave them all a laugh! Next time, I’m definitely going to have a ‘dance cam’! As the day went on and the tunes were relentlessly rocking, the kids danced like nobody was watching; it was great and certainly put my robot dance moves to shame!
Overall, this blog is what Kicking Off is really about. The football is the vehicle that brings everybody together; when everybody is together, that’s when Kicking Off strikes, with medical checks, goodie bags, food, water and party vibes.
For me, it was amazing to see the football and the other stuff running so smoothly, side by side, on our first attempt! It definitely laid the ground work for establishing more successful future tournaments – and the huge success of the medical work, in particular, left all of us feeling as if we’d really achieved something that could go on to be a real game-changer, in Africa, and in other parts of the world, in the future.