Submitted by Larry Davis and Noreen O’Gara
Our son, Luke Davis played soccer at the varsity level for BHS (Class of 2007) and spent 4 years on the Men’s Soccer Team for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (Class of 2011) in North Adams. His love of soccer helped him connect to his new neighbors in the rural village of Bonkwae, Ghana where he is serving as an Agriculture Adviser for the Peace Corps until January of 2016. Even as he struggled to learn Twi, the local language, and his new neighbors tried to communicate in English, the official language of Ghana, they were united by their shared love of soccer.
According to Luke, the women of Bonkwae enjoy soccer, but are usually very busy. They do all the chores: fetching water, cooking, cleaning, and hauling food from the farmland. Of course they also have to watch and care for the children. But sometimes the women do have a bit of free time and they want to play soccer. They have no soccer balls, however, and even when they can find a ball, the men usually dominate the soccer fields in Bonkwae. Occasionally the women play as a team against other towns, but not often.
Luke hopes to get some soccer equipment to help the women form a team and have weekly practices and occasional tournaments. With a recognized team, the fields would be more open to the women to play. Luke says: “It would mean a great deal to them to have some fun; their lives seem like nonstop work.”
The previous Peace Corps volunteer in Bonkwae helped organize a men’s team and provided them with some equipment. He also organized a few youth tournaments and gave the children shirts and a ball. Luke would like to continue working with the young children in his village. They play soccer at every chance they get and use any materials they can find, such as plastic water sachets, to make a ball.
We (Larry & Noreen) are hoping that members of the Bedford community who have used soccer gear (balls, cleats, shin guards, jerseys etc) would be willing to donate their items to the residents of Bonkwae. We will pick up any gear and ship it. Unfortunately, this isn’t a registered charity and the Peace Corps doesn’t have a system for making these types of direct donations. Shipping is costly so if you don’t have any gear to donate but still would like to help out please contact us for further information.
You can reach us at [email protected].
Thanks to everyone who has contributed thus far. We have a drop-box at our front door if you are in the Davis School area which was filled with brand new children’s soccer equipment – those women we hope to equip all have children, too!