Schalk is a friend of mine who helps me to understand soccer (and a lot of other things).  He is working with Roelf Meyer for the Foundation for a Safe South Africa. One of their projects is called Youth Zones … you can check out the site here and download a brochure here.  The Zones uses soccer in order to do development and leave a legacy after the World Cup.

Over the weekend two Zimbabweans and a Mozambiquean stayed at our house.  It was a wonderful experience.  We love hosting people from different parts of the world.  The children also love it.  One morning our 2 year old told the players that they must please just sit where they are until he comes back from school.  He wanted to play more!

One of the players wrote a letter of thanks that I’m posting here …

Hi Schalk

We had a very safe journey back home. Thanks for everything. We arrived today at around 11am in the morning. Below are my reflections for the match;

It was a life changing and very unique experience for me. Never had I attended a match of such high magnitude. Let alone, getting the opportunity to watch several of my football heroes who showcase their talents in some of the best leagues in the world, the likes of Vidic, Ivanovic, Kingson, Appiah, Gyan, to mention just but a few.

From the entrance, everything was so organised that there were no hustles whatsoever. The regalia all over the stadium were so magnificent. It was so refreshing to note how football could bring together and unite people from all walks of life regardless of race, colour or creed. The game brought a very high sense of togetherness and unity of purpose. When Ghana scored, I rose from my seat and ended up hugging 2 Ghanaian fellows who were nearby and whom I didn’t even know prior to the celebrations. I also enjoyed time with these other 2 clownish English fellows who were enjoying their time nearby. They really had a good sense of humour. We ended up having a photo shoot with them.

I also discovered and loved the “never say die” spirit that was portrayed by the Serbians, especially the supporters. They always believed that they could get a favourable result even when the chips were down. However, they lost but they were still a happy and hopeful lot.

It was a historic moment for me to be part and parcel of this game that happened to be the first victory for an African country during this edition of the World Cup on African soil. The victory was not only for Ghana but Africa. This was shown by the amazing celebrations that engulfed most streets after the game. I really saw a renewed sense of belief in all Africans who graced this occasion. The messages of hope and belief were also shown on the placards by supporters of both teams. What of the tens of thousands of vuvuzelas, the exciting Mexican wave, wow, it was so great. With wrong timing, the Mexican wave would not be effective. You really had to stand up and wave at the right time. I really learnt a good lesson on time keeping as well.

I also learnt a very good personal lesson prior to the game. I learnt the importance of making the right and specific choice of what I want in life. Before we got to our seats, Schalk offered the four of us some drinks and asked what each one of us preferred. At that time, I was so overwhelmed with what was transpiring at the stadium such that I wasn’t even concentrating on this drinks issue. I ended up telling him to give me a drink of his own choice. Little known to myself, I ended up getting a Budweiser beer!! I seldomly drink beer. At first, I thought it was a ginger beer but discovered otherwise after tasting. Ooh, I did enjoy it but no one had to discover this because I had got the taste of my own medicine. As the game progressed, I pretended as if I was enjoying my “drink”. Before I even finished, another order had been placed!!! OH MY GOD, I enjoyed another terrible time. I had to finish it without being recognized though. I succeeded but thereafter I was beginning to feel a bit dizzy!! I guess you know what that means. I learnt my big lesson silently!!!!!!!

I would like to express my very sincere gratitude to you Schalk, Doc and your organisation as well as all those who made it possible for us to grace the World Cup Live. This is something that I had NEVER, NEVER dreamt that it would happen to me. Believe me, you guys really lifted our spirits to a very high level. As for Bruce, I don’t know how to say it. He was so uplifted. He is now a changed person due to that exposure. I had never communicated with him the way we did on our way back. Believe me Schalk, the way you appreciated and accommodated him together with Doc, has made him to feel special. He now possesses that confidence in himself. I had never seen him so cheerful

Lastly, please forward my heartfelt appreciation again to Tommy & Lollie. They are VERY NICE, I repeat, VERY NICE people. So accommodating, so caring and so loving. The children were also very nice. Thank you very much. May the Lord remember and bless you for everything you are doing. Our lives will never be the same again.