Thursday, July 8, 2010

Out of Africa...II...

The World Cup is coming to a close; the final between Spain and The Netherlands is set for Sunday, July 11 after yesterday’s La Furia Roja victory over Germany in the second semi-final.

South Africa has drawn a lot of attention as the host of the world’s most popular sporting event (sorry, World Series/Superbowl). A lot of people were concerned about South Africa’s ability to host such an event. Worries about infrastructure, finances and security abounded. But most of what I’ve seen coming out of S. Africa has been stories like this one from MSNBC.

Poverty keeps townships kids from getting a lot of things those of us in the West deem essential to life, even a pair of sneakers. But a local organization started by a broadcast journalist and a man from the townships is aiming to make the kids’ soccer dreams come true - one uniform at a time.

I suppose all this attention on Africa has made me more sensitive to good news from that continent. Rwanda is one of the world’s poorest countries, known more for its 1994 genocide than anything else. But, according to Time, NYC cult hit Blue Marble Ice Cream has looked past the problem to help with the solution. Owners Alexie Miesen and Jennie Dundas have helped Odile Gakire Katese open Rwanda’s first ice cream shop as a way to bridge divides and remind Rwandans they deserve happiness along with their basic needs met.

Liberian Lovetta Conto fled her home country with her father when she was 18 months old and ended up in a Ghanaian refugee camp. An encounter with Cori Stern from the Strongheart Fellowship gave Conto a chance to make her fashion designing dreams come true. Her jewelry, made from bullet casings from the Liberian civil war, has adorned stars like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry.

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