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Crazybird

on the silk route 2010 / 2012

Slum Soccer

the new pics

Nagpur is the geographical heart of India. Although its central location it feels very remote because there is no single tourist on the streets. We are here to work for Slum Soccer. It’s an ambitious organization and after a few days we felt that we could be useful on different needs. We start with a focus on training the children in football at different centers. Everywhere we are welcomed enthusiastically, the children stand in line and introduce them self with name and position in the field. Discipline and polite behavior are additional skills the players learn. Also there are programs to create awareness about AIDS for example. Basically Slum Soccer offers education through football on all subjects which are not taught at school. Apart from Nagpur there is a network of cities throughout India who operate under Slum Soccer’s name.

We are both not experienced trainers but played sports all our life and find out that we can be of great help. There is a lot to learn and the children pick up instructions really fast. In our first weekend players all over India came to the center for a selection-trial to join the Homeless World Cup in Paris next summer. The weather is hot, after some speed-tests players have to recover for minutes because of overheating or even sunstroke. There is some talent but in general the level is low. Most participants only play football for a year or so. Cricket is by far the number 1 sport in India. Most children in the streets play this game instead of football, cricket is not an ideal game for physical development since most players watch more than actual move. India is a huge nation so the best cricketplayers are superheroes competing with movie-stars and politicians. Politicians? Yes, here they have a glamorous life. Although a lot of them are involved in corruption-scandals they enjoy their status. That’s because status and the hunt for money rule this country (like so many other places). The importance of status is understandable when you keep in mind the the history of India’s cast-system. Although its officially changed into positive discrimination the cultural product of this tradition, which was daily practice for millenia, remains in the Indian behavior. Like Guus told me in Delhi: “Our cook cleans also the house but refuses to do the toilet because its below his status. In this example status even overpowers the hunt for money.

My personal experience is that i meet less inspiring people. Maybe i start to be less inspiring myself or was i ever? I base this on personal encounters with people, lack of cultural activities, even in bigger cities where extreme wealth is exposed in all possible ways. Luckily the people involved in Slum Soccer are exceptions on this standard. They proof also India has unpretentious souls to inspire young people on the real values in life. It’s a pleasure to be part of that.

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