Avi Shein traveled to Peru with Woza in 2017 where he spent nearly three weeks traveling with Woza Soccer. Below, he recounts one of his favorite memories from his time in Peru with Woza Soccer.
On July 20, 2017, my Woza Peru group visited a school in Urubamba. We had already met some of the kids from the school when we had visited the children's center the day before, and they excitedly ran up to meet us. The kids put on a small performance for us when we arrived. Then, we broke them into groups and did some soccer drills. Afterwards, we went up to a field behind the school. It was patchy, and they used rocks as goals for us to play soccer. There were over 70 kids on the field trying to play soccer. Their ages ranged from four to fourteen, and it was impossible for anyone to know who was on what team, or which way they were going. Much of our group didn’t even speak Spanish, including myself, so I wasn’t able to talk to any of the kids, but once we were playing soccer, everyone was happy. I put some kids on my back or my shoulders, and ran after the ball as they giggled and shouted.
I couldn’t run for long because of the altitude, so after a minute or two I would put the kid down, catch my breath, before going back to running. When we were done, three kids came up to me asking for piggy-back rides. I played with them for a bit before they decided to form a dog pile on top of me. We sat down for lunch, and the kids could not stop smiling from the fun we were having. We took pictures with them, and when the time came to leave they gave us hugs and shouted goodbye to us as we left. I hadn’t been able to talk to any of the children that whole day, but I had a great time. I had been told many times over the trip that Woza uses soccer as a language, and as a way to connect. This was a perfect example of that.