Soccer Without Borders by Giovanna Parker ’14

Just a few short months ago I stood before the Williston community at assembly trying my best to describe Soccer Without Borders and ask for help as I raised money to donate to the program. I knew the basics: I would be going to Nicaragua for a one week high school camp to attempt to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change in a country plagued with poverty and with few social or economic opportunities for girls. However, what I did not know was the impact the trip would have on me. Thank you for all who so generously donated money, soccer equipment or bought t-shirts and bracelets.  Below I will share my story.

 “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”

– Nelson Mandela

Stepping out of the Managua airport on August 4th I was immediately hit with a wave of smells: the smoke from hundreds of cigarettes mixed with the smell of horses and the sewage that was running in a milky stream along the curb, along with the exhaust from the vans and taxis meandering their way along the narrow airport road. Waiting out in front with the other members of my group (whom I had never met before) we stood together for what felt like hours in the hot, sticky, smelly air. Our bus driver was attempting to get 30-something suitcases and duffle bags into a van smaller than a Williston mini-bus while still leaving room for the 13 or so people in our group.

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