PLAYMAKERSTRAINERS

When I started this mission, I didn’t even think to visit such an incredible country as Madagascar. To come here, you must be this kind of person who focuses on small details of life and ready to experience strong social culture issues. This trip for us guided by our intuition and the grand plan called “to don’t have any plan”. So one day “Madagascar” appeared in my head.

Do you know where? In Nairobi! At the lobby of the hostel where I stayed. Tourists, there were competing their collections of the stamps in their passports.  They were discussing so many things and issuing about… “jalapeños” (was it spicier in Mexico or US?). After a few hours, the “travelling ants” got tired and started to disperse. One guy from France was distinct from all of them. We met quickly, and good vibes made us discover a few local museums and visit a beautiful excursion with giraffes alongside other Japanese and Brazilian friends.  We couldn’t finish the afternoon like this, and at the same time we said, “Let’s go listen to Rock’n’Roll!”Those who follow their dreams must be very lucky to meet with someone who has the same values, and I was lucky that day to meet Matt. After I told him one of my stories, he said, “Man, I don’t want you to give up, your mission is incredible and what you’ve just told me about your father is very strong, keep it up! Any time you want to go to Madagascar; just let me know!” I answered, “Thanks brother, I don’t know when, but I’ll go! For sure!”

Despite the negative prognostics and their opinions such as, “it’s very far”, “deplorable”, “too expensive”, “too dangerous” etc., proudly I would say… I MADE IT! I arrived 72 hours ago to the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo! Matt met me with his driver at the airport. From the first second, I felt that I surrounded by good people and I felt like home.

The first day in Madagascar was surprising and shocking at the same time. The first thing I did, I bought a cell-phone card. All of the guys were busy in the daytime so that I could stay in touch with the world.  Then I decided to have breakfast, and I walked to the restaurant that Matt suggested to me and here I got the first impression. One kid on the street asked me something in French??!! I kept walking, but this boy started to follow me repeating his supplication. Just because I couldn’t understand the language, it caused me to worry about my pockets. I began to feel uncomfortable when the boy followed me more than 500 meters, repeating this phrase every single step. For real, I wanted to cry! He had stopped chasing me only when I entered the restaurant. I was thinking about this situation and reflecting it again and again while I was eating my breakfast, but then I decided to come back to the street again.

Right at the corner (40 meters on my right), another little one started to follow me, another 300 meters, with the same energy and intensity — the same action with almost the same meaning. My intuition helped me. Foreigners are an easy target. I started to walk faster without a phone and GPS in my hands trying to get out of a crowded place. In the beginning, I got to admit that I was prejudging people who informed me about this area. But I realised that everything that they said was true. In this city, you have to protect your mobile phone and passport holding it like King Kong.

You must carry your passport with you because the police regularly control foreigners. It’s better to have it because if not, you have to be ready for hostile interrogation and bribes (of course). cnI crossed the local market walking quite nervous until I saw five kids under six years old playing. They were pretending to be like a train. These kids called my attention and started to change figures in front of me, characters like circle, square, rectangular, etc. I stayed static and paralysed. Then I kindly asked a woman nearby if I could take a picture! I took a few photos and then I decided to join their company. First five minutes I felt a bit uncomfortable and dangerous playing in this market also I left my phone on the floor to film this moment. While we were playing this woman came to me and recommended to hide my phone suggesting to me that It could be stolen.

I appreciated this gesture, but our mini-training was not over. We continued to learn how to do headers, how to pass the ball and many other things. Slowly we were attracting more kids, and a lot of people were watching!

We were jumping, running. We laughed a lot in this small place between stalls! I wrapped everything in my backpack, embraced it and I began to walk fast until I left the area behind. I was delighted! It was beautiful! I don’t know what else to say!

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