Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Journey begins

The Journey of the Football

I am not too sure whether it is a good idea to put a football in a box and post it to Zambia! Anyway, since there was a more interesting way of getting the ball to its destination, I have chosen this alternative method.

The football is a gift from St. Gregory's and St. Thomas More's parishioners in Cheltenham to our partner parish of our Lady of the Wayside inspired by Zambia success in winning the Africa Cup of Nations.

Rhona has spent all her life in Cheltenham. She was baptised at St. Gregory's church, learning about the Catholic faith during children's liturgy sessions at mass and going on to make her first holy communion there. Representing the children of the parish she handed the football to me.

Most of you will know more than enough of my background! In this context however, I have been a parishioner at St. Gregory's church for more than 30 years, in which time I have have been involved in many church related activities including as the parish CAFOD representative for many years. Over recent years I have become very much involved with Hands Around the World as volunteer, trustee director, project co-ordinator etc.

Perhaps South Wales isn't the most obvious next stop on the way to Zambia but this is where I took the ball last Monday – to a small place called Dingestow (just outside Monmouth) where Hands Around the World has its office. There I passed it to David Steiner.

About 20 years ago David spent a year in Zambia with his family. He worked as a doctor at St. Francis Hospital, Katete. Seeing children die unnecessarily he wanted to try to do something to make a difference. This inspired him to establish an organisation to provide support for disadvantaged children - to try to give them a chance of a better future. Hence Hands Around the World was born. It is therefore fitting that the major journey for our football will use some of those hands.

The next journey is a short one. David handed the ball to Joanna, his daughter, who lives in Newport. Joanna has been involved with Hands Around the World since it's inception (and before!) In recent years she has done most of the orientation for volunteers as well as education, fundraising etc. etc.

We hope to get photos for most of the handovers and I will fill in a little of the background of the people who partake in this relay.

I have informed Fr. Raphael that the ball is on its way. He tells me that in recent days the parish council met to talk about ways of helping the young people of the parish. They decided to encourage them to get involved in sporting activities – football and netball being suggested. They were donated one football which they will initially share between two groups. Another football would be very much appreciated so that they can have a ball for each group. It is so easy to forget how much a single football can mean for a parish in Monze!

Best wishes


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