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From Wembley to Furunzi antechamber

Education, sport, health: problems of youngsters in Malindi outskirts

08-07-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo

We don't go to Europe, we don't play finals in London.
On the contrary, in a while, if no one from Europe continues to come, the only group in which they will be able to play will be the infernal one of a miserable meal a day with polenta and wild herbs, of an unemployed father who cannot pay the school fees, of broken shoes and worms in the toenails.
The Wembley of Malindi is called Furunzi.
It is the plain on the outskirts, between the airport and the tin shacks. There are two iron gates, a semblance of green grass and there is always someone cheering.
The masks cost as much as a plate of beans and no one, having to choose, would ever exchange them for food.
And there's no question of vaccines. In five months, the emergency laboratories set up in health facilities have called only teachers, policemen and government employees.
Then, on a voluntary basis, citizens over the age of 58. And already hardly anyone has gone there.
And who trusts public health here? For poor people, the hospital is simply the gateway to the abyss.
You get there when you're really sick, often so sick that there's nothing you can do and the only thing you want is a powerful painkiller.
Which very often you can't find.
Everything else, the private clinics, the good doctors, the medicine that cures, costs too much for the families in the poor neighbourhoods.
One cannot waste time with a virus, which, moreover, does not bother other dangerous diseases at all. In Kenya, Covid-19 does not even reach the quarter-finals. Malaria and Aids play for the final victory, with Cholera and Tuberculosis as outsiders.
Coach Badili, true to his name (which actually means "the man of change" in Swahili), digs into the passion of a group of kids that it is increasingly difficult to stimulate and coach. Give them a ball and they run after it for as long as they can breathe, inventing dribbles to destiny and trajectories that knock the misery out of them. But getting inside their heads during training and instilling the flame of change, of going on the attack of a one-way future and looking for the goal that will take them out of the relegation zone of life forever, even for a tough guy like Badili and for Real Malindi Academy it becomes increasingly difficult.
And so it is for us too, with our few means, supported now almost only by the friends of the association "Grifoni in Rete" and by the few people who have got to know this reality.
Without tourism, donations have stopped and the pandemic has directed a lot of attention elsewhere.
The kids? They'll grow up, they'll make it, you'll see.
To live with hardships, to have to abandon school, to turn to drugs to forget injustice, to prostitute oneself at the age of 12 to bring home two kilos of flour or in exchange for tampons...that has always happened, what does it change?  
Italy is in the final, Africa can wait.
In the antechamber of the abyss.

TAGS: solidarietà kenyafurunzireal malindisport kenyasociale kenya

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