It is said that Charity starts at home, but I beg to differ somewhat because for me, charity starts in the heart. In December of 2006, I visited my community and went to the playfield that was a key source of wellbeing and a soccer breeding ground for the youths in the community. On what was left of a dilapidated soccer field – infested with stones and weeds – I saw kids enthusiastically playing soccer; most of these kids were playing barefooted, some playing in flip-flops, while others were playing in their only pair of shoes (that they had for school and all other purposes).
I wished I could have shared their enthusiasm, but I couldn’t; a thick dark cloud of empathy and sorrow hijacked my heart. This sorrow dragged me down memory lane (not too long ago) when I was playing on that same field – barefooted. I played barefooted not by choice but by circumstance, the same circumstance these kids faced – poverty – the cantankerous, merciless, social wave that subjects people to its devastating wrath, a wrath that has the capabilities to drown potential and hope. I survived the tide back then (with some much appreciated help), got a soccer scholarship – my ticket to America – a masters degree and a career as a Software Engineer (a destination that I never even dreamt about).
As I watched the kids playing, a glimmer of joy pierced the thick cloud of sorrow that had hijacked me; this joy was evoked by the sheer enthusiasm and skills that I witnessed. As my heart became overwhelmed by joy and sorrow, so too did my eyes; silent tears from my heart trickled down my face. These un-coerced tears of joy and sorrow that emanated from my heart that day became a contract that committed me to make a difference in the lives of at least one of those boys – boys that have the recipe (potential and enthusiasm) to escape the wrath of poverty like I did – boys who desperately need a helping hand.
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