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June 28, 2010

Siavonga, Zambia

In 2006 we visited a little village outside of Siavonga town and had a great game with the children on the community pitch. Four years later we were back to play another match and even managed to find some of our old opponents.

With the light fading we left the village and headed into the town centre for the screening, we were surprised to find the village headman there. Patson Mulopwe inherited the traditional position from his father and said that as a headman people trust him because “a headman is the gatherer of information, a person who is supposed be respected and interact easily with his subjects. I am responsible for assisting the underpriviledged in all aspects of live and bring justice to everyone in the village.”

Patson has joined the areas Local AIDS Taskforce because he believes that the AIDS orphans are one of the serious problems his people face, he told me “I joined the AIDS Task Force is because my personal feeling from what I have seen is how these AIDS orphans suffer when they lose their parents and the lack of support in the community…. people don’t want to share the little they have with others.”

Godfrey Kalaluka is the District AIDS Coordinator (DAC), he links all HIV and AIDS projects in the district he said “there are many orphans here and child headed households. Children here often have to fend for themselves, looking after many brothers and sisters.” pointing to the children clustered around the screen he said that most of them would have no adults looking out for them.

The kids were very excited about the game and also the t-shirts and vuvuzelas that they won. We sat amongst them at the front and it was a lot of fun sharing their anticipation and eruptions of applause to any fancy footwork. Brazil dazzled in their yellow and as far as you could look there were people perched on platforms, leaning through windows all intent on the game. But as the night wore on it got colder and the children sat on the damp ground, huddled together though they were, didn’t have enough clothes to stay warm. They tucked their arms in their t-shirts and wrapped them round their knees but there was no one to make sure they didn’t catch cold.

When we packed up we were treated to an impromptu dance performance by five of the children. They incorporated their vuvulezas and sang us a song, waving furiously as we drove away. We left touched that they had enjoyed the evening but wondering where they would be spending the rest of the night.

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