There were a few personal stories to come out of our visit to HOVIC earlier this week.  David has penned his below.


"We entered HOVIC armed with a tennis ball and not much else. I started throwing a tennis ball against the wall, playing catch with the kids.  One teenager athletically jumped in front of me, taking a flying one handed effort.  I said ‘well done, great catch’ and asked if he wanted a game of catch.  We played for 5 or 10 minutes.  I asked if he wanted to join in with others, but he said he only wanted to speak to me.

We continued to throw the ball around, I was increasingly testing him but he had good hand eye coordination.  He told me his name was Saleem and he had been at HOVIC for a month.  His parents had divorced and both rejected him, leaving him on his own in Kisumu.  As we carried on playing one-on-one, we the conversation became deeper.  I explained about my family at home, he asked about my mother and how often I see her.  He was interested to learn about England.  I returned the questions, asking about his family.  He told me his father is a Muslim and had remarried, settling in Mombasa, rejecting Saleem from his new family.  His mother is a Christian and lives in Nairobi. 

I asked his faith. He told me he was a Christian and thanked the Lord every day that he came out of his mother’s womb okay.  I said that’s great, but he interjected, explaining that his mother has HIV but he doesn’t.  Naively, I hadn’t been expecting to hear this, but it really hit home.  There are things that we take for granted at home but there are some children in the world that don’t have a choice. He went on to explain that his mother is an alcoholic and when she is on the drink her landlord removes the tin roof from her house until she pays rent.  Saleem had spent many nights getting soaked through as a consequence.   

We carried on playing and chatting for about an hour.  It was clear that he just needed someone to unload onto and I was more than happy to provide some support and advice.  We even ignored the group activities and the other coaches left us alone as they could see we were having an in-depth heart-to-heart.  We talked about his ambition to run his own business, I advised him from my own experience of doing this to trust your own ability and go down your own path.  He’s a bright guy, very articulate and now, thanks to HOVIC, has a second chance to rebuild his life and follow his ambitions to take control of his own destiny.  It’s humbling to have someone so young, he’s aged around 16, who’s been through so much already just want to confide in you as a father figure.  I hope that even the hour or so we spent chatting and throwing a ball around will stay with him and give him a positive outlook for the future.  It’ll certainly stay with me."


David D