The scenic view of Ngong Hills provides a fantastic backdrop to Kenya Commercial Bank’s Leadership Centre, the perfect venue for a historic congregation of four major football fan bases in Nairobi.
Sunday, 08 September 2013 saw fans gather, drawn from Manchester United Kenya, Arsenal Kenya, Chelsea FC Kenya and Liverpool Supporters Club Kenya (LSCK), a first. The aim of this fun day was to raise funds to purchase sanitary pads for girls in Marigat, a settlement area in Kenya’s colonial Rift Valley Province.
In the games that followed, LSCK chalked up an impressive win the football category, seeing off Arsenal Kenya 2-0 before prevailing over a good Chelsea side on penalties, following a hard-fought 1-1 draw. The Red Belles also won the ladies tug of war competition.
Buy a Pad, Save a Girl’s Future
The fan bases came together with an initiative titled ‘Buy a Pad, Save a Girl’s Future,’ organized in form of a lighthearted charity tournament, to both raise awareness and to collect donations towards this cause.
The Kenyan media house, Royal Media Ltd, first broke the sad news of how girls in Marigat lack access to this vital commodity, and resort to creative use of items such as chicken feathers and plant leaves in a bid to manage their menstruation cycles.
This particular period of a young woman’s life is in turn a form of embarrassment, brought about by misinformation, and often leads to interference in the girl child’s learning.
The basic rules were that each participating team (fan base) register with Kshs 1,000, the entire amount going towards purchase of the sanitary items. Each team was also asked to rally their fans to bring at least 50 packs minimum or two (2) packs per person.
In terms of activities, the day would include random but fun events like battle of wits, a penalty challenge, food eating competition, sack race, ball juggling, tug of war and a knockout football competition among others.
The page provided to highlight this initiative can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Buy-a-Pad-Save-a-Girls-future/219460001542493?fref=ts
KCB Leadership School
The theatre of action, KCB Leadership Centre, as measured from Nairobi City Centre, is 18 km using Ngong Road (≃ 28 minutes drive), 21.6 km using Lang’ata Road (≃ 30 minutes drive) and 23.6 km using a combination of James Gichuru and Ngong roads (≃ 34 minutes drive). Figures provided by Google Maps.
The Ngong Hills are peaks in a ridge along the Great Rift Valley, located southwest near Nairobi, in southern Kenya.
The Hills’ eastern slopes overlook the Nairobi National Park Game Reserve; to the North, the city of Nairobi. The western slopes open out over the Great Rift Valley dropping over 1,000 meters (4,000 feet) below. The peak of the Ngong Hills is measured at 2,460 meters (8,070 feet) above sea level.
The word “Ngong” is an Anglicization of a Maasai phrase “enkong’u emuny” meaning rhinoceros spring, and this name derives from a spring located near Ngong Town.
During the years of British colonial rule, the area around the Ngong Hills was a major settler farming region, and many traditional colonial houses are still seen in the area.
In the 1985 Meryl Streep film Out of Africa, the four peaks of the Ngong Hills appear in the background of several scenes near [her character] Karen Blixen’s house.
It was a day to remember, all the more memorable seeing rival fans set aside their differences and donate their time to tackling a national challenge.
It was even more gratifying to see young people touched by the plight of fellow Kenyans far removed from their everyday existence. This is the desired future for a nascent nation and long may it continue.
You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Additional Readings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngong_Hills | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marigat | Photos used with gratitude