After waiting in the Amsterdam airport for five hours, the team for our 3rd annual C.A.R.E. mission was finally reunited. It was heart warming to see the excitement on everyone’s faces as we prepared to embrace this journey together again.
We arrived in Abuja, Nigeria at 8 p.m. and were greeted by our local coordinators. After clearing customs we collected our luggage and ALL 26 boxes of extra medical supplies. We quickly (2hrs) sorted through nearly a hundred boxes of donated supplies from across the states. Shoes, medical supplies, football equipment and candy filled an entire hotel room-floor to ceiling. I went to bed, but members of the team were up until 3:30 a.m. before finally getting to sleep. I was SOoooo tired! I set my alarm to wake up at 6a.m. but must have fallen back asleep. The next thing I knew is it was 7:45 a.m. and my hotel phone was ringing… and ringing…and ringing, I had 15 min to be ready and downstairs for our morning meeting. Believe it or not, I made it.
Within the hour, we received a blessing from a local minister and were off to our first sports camp. We set up stations, anxiously waiting for the 70 orphaned local area kids to arrive.
Then, lead by our Nigerian soccer star Kasia Muoto, the silent air was shattered by the energizing cheers of our young “footballers”: “I can, You can, We Can! I will, You Will, We will! I win, You win, We win… I have hope…We have hope… I have hope , we have hope. The chats circled the entire field.
The four-hour camp came to a close as an orange dusk began to settle over the field. We escorted the children to their busses and the difference was visible. Each one, left a little taller-thanks to their new shoes, and more confident.
Time to prepare for Monday’s medical clinic…BEAR DOWN.