Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Without a Fight

Without a Fight

            I have three kids in three schools this year; elementary, middle, and high school.  It is a challenge to say the least!  As parents we always hope to hear they make it through the day without a fight.  I am talking about the fights concerning who is sitting next to who or who told someone your secret.  In the slum of Kibera we are talking about much more than that.  After the 2008 presidential elections violence erupted along tribal lines with thousands being killed.  That is what makes the story of the Champions Soccer League, a program within the Sports Association of Carolina for Kibera, so powerful.  After watching the documentary Without a Fight  you will be left with an overwhelming feeling of optimism of what can be accomplished when we come together as a community.

            Last summer during our ONE Moms trip to Kenya we were able to visit Carolina for Kibera, a partner of the ONE organization. I instantly resonated with the strong emphasis on programs being community lead.  With our North Carolina connection I knew I wanted to bring my experience back home to not only encourage support of CFK, but to initiate conversations around strengthening our own community.  A few days after returning from our trip my family and I participated in the 26 Day Challenge and—WOW, what an experience!  Sharing it on social media ignited discussions and inspired others to join the challenge.


            When I heard that Without a Fight premiered last month at the 11mm Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, I reached out to the producer, Beth-Ann Kutchma, to see how we could bring it here to Wilmington, NC.  Imagine my excitement, when I learned we were not only screening it, but Kennedy Juma, featured in the film would be visiting from Kibera as well.  The film follows the personal lives of Nicholas and Adan as their teams prepare to meet in the title match of the Champions League, a soccer league started 11 years ago by Carolina for Kibera founder Rye Barcott.  It is based on an experiment to see if putting rival tribes on the same team could help stop ethnic violence.  The end result—over 20,000 games ending “without a fight”.



The reaction from my middle school son after the screening:  “That was REALLY awesome!”.  My youngest son recalls his favorite quote: “There are opportunities out there for you, but you have to look for those opportunities for they are not going to be handed to you on a silver platter.”  And the photos of the event are credited to my teenage daughter, who was eager and engaged in capturing every angle of the evening.  Many in the audience wanted to know how to get a copy (it is really that good!) and was directed to join the email list to get your DVD when they are available and host your own screening.  In a media world that is focused on the darkness, it is uplifting to showcase the good.


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