Guus, photography student: “Fútbol Más is an incredible organisation”
I write this blog while my trip was not completed yet. My stay here has been incredibly instructive and fun, therefore I look reluctantly toward my departure from Kenya.
My name is Guus, I’m a photography student and I am studying in Ghent (Belgium) and live in Rotterdam (the Netherlands). The education I follow is mainly focused on the photo documentary within the spectrum of photography. I completed my bachelor’s program and now I’m working on getting my master degree in photography. For the master’s degree it is necessary to go through an internship and this is one of the reasons I came into contact with Fútbol Más Kenya.
Already from the start I felt Fútbol Más is an incredible organisation and is doing a great job in the way they are working within the communities. After consultation via Skype, it turned out that we wanted to work together. So I quickly booked my airplane ticket and I started the preparations for my trip.
My reception in Kenya and especially in the team of Futbol Mas Kenya was very warm and welcoming. After a brief introduction to everyone from the team, my first working day was immediately one to remember. With the three of us from the team, we went to Mathare (one of the communities we work with) to attend a session. For the record, in Kenya you cannot escape to travel with a Matatu, the buses who make up the public transport system. We went to Mathare with this transport.
My first experience was one with my heartbeat in my chest. I was sitting half folded in a small mini-van in the chaotic traffic in Nairobi. After a while you get used to it. When we entered the neighbourhood, the contrast between the world I come from and the reality here couldn’t be bigger. The level of poverty and dirt on the streets is huge and made a big impact on me. I soon discovered that despite the problems the area is struggling with, the people are very friendly and hospitable.
The Fútbol Más session were ran by Austin and Sam and they put so much energy in it.
They do a great job! It is so good to see the children having a great time during the sessions. During my time here in Nairobi I have seen a lot of sessions on the field, also in Kibera. I discovered very quickly that the community in Kibera has a different atmosphere compared to Mathare. It is hard to say what exactly the difference is but the outcome of the sessions is the same, thanks to Gaucho and Eunice, who run Fútbol Más activities in Kibera.
Besides the sessions, Austin and Sam showed me around in Mathare and Gaucho did the same in Kibera. Because of their help I was able to get in touch with the people living around the community. I tried to find out through my lens what it is like to live in these informal settlements and I tried to make a photo reportage of it.
All I have seen the last six weeks, have made me think of my own position in life. I discovered that I’m privileged. The chances I get in life have a lot to do with where I am born and this gives me the opportunity to do what I want to do. Now I realize that it is not so obvious for everyone to choose the life they dream of. A lot of people in the communities don’t have those chances and opportunities that I have had.
Therefore it felt good to help and to do something in my power to create awareness.
I want to say to everyone who helped me during my time here and made me feel home: thank you so much! Keep up the good energy and continue doing good work!