Kim Ivey’s daughter Wynston packs up our LF balls for an incredible journey!
Who are you and what organization are you travelling with?
My name is Kim Ivey. I live in Montgomery, Alabama and I am a former team manager (Go Streaks!), soccer mom and avid lover of the beautiful game. I will be traveling with my daughter, Wynston and 9 others from Heritage Baptist Church here in Montgomery. We will be partnering with the Open Hearts ministry in Managua.
Where are you going?
We are going to Managua,Nicaragua. We will be serving and working with families in La Chureca.
Describe La Chureca, the place and the people living there.
La Chureca is Managua’s city dump. Imagine the tallest sand dunes you’ve ever seen…now picture them as piles of trash instead of sand and that will give you a first glimpse of La Chureca. The smell is like one big trash dumpster and there are garbage trucks that rumble in and out all day long. Between the dust in the air and the dirt kicked up by your feet you are gritty from head to toe by the end of the day. There are large black birds that circle overhead and you get the eerie feeling that you’ve just stepped into an Edgar Allen Poe story. It’s a pretty dark place spiritually and emotionally.
The people that live there also work there. They pick recyclables and sell them for their living. Small children accompany their parents to work and sit in the trash while their parents pick. The families there use materials found in the dump to build their homes. There is a lot of abuse in La Chureca…drugs, alcohol, sex. There is a hopelessness that breeds there. The life expectancy of an adult in La Chureca is about 40 years because growing up in the dump is so harsh.
Yet, in the middle of the dump there is a school, Colegio Cristiano la Esperanza, the school of hope. Children from La Chureca under the age of 14 are encouraged to go to this school where they are educated, fed, taught hygiene and are given a hope for the future. Most of what we do this week will be with these children.
You previously brought some Little Feet balls down to Nicaragua. How were they received?
It was like Christmas each day of the week! Each afternoon we would go to La Chureca and play all sorts of games with the kids. Inevitably the games would turn into a soccer match and at the end of each afternoon we would leave a couple of balls with different kids. A couple of the guys from our group would come up to me just about every day and say “Hey Ms. Kim, there’s this kid and we’ve been playing with him…can we give him a ball?” And of course the answer was always yes! The kids knew when they saw us that soccer balls would there too. I think our guys had almost as much fun giving out balls as the kids were going to have playing with them.
How many balls are you bringing this time?
We are taking 10 balls this year. This trip is going to be a little different that last year. The group that is going this year could be best described as a rag tag team of former basketball, football and baseball players and coaches. Each afternoon they are hoping to do a different sport with the kids. My daughter is the lone soccer player and we’ll be giving the balls away after the soccer afternoon. As much as these guys want to play their American sports I have a feeling each afternoon will turn into a soccer match anyway…which is fine with me!
Why do you support Little Feet? Why should others?
I support Little Feet for simple reasons. Little Feet provides an opportunity for me to show kindness to a child that I will probably never meet. By purchasing one ball for myself I can also do something nice for a child who otherwise may not have an opportunity to enjoy playing and being a kid. I guess the question is why would you not want to support Little Feet? Every child deserves the opportunity to be a kid and to enjoy their childhood. Little Feet helps make that happen.
What is it about the power of giving, the power of a soccer ball, the power to have a chance to play?
Children do not get to choose where they are born. Children do not get to choose the family they are born into. Every child deserves a childhood no matter where they live in the world. The simple gift of a soccer ball could be the one moment in that child’s life that they are freed from the trappings of their day to day living. The benefit of giving is twofold. Maya Angelou said “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” There is power in freedom.