How many times have you traveled outside of your home town? How many times have you been outside your country? How many times have you been on an airplane?
Many people take for granted the beauty, ease, and privilege with which we can travel today. From talking with our girls over the course of the semester we learned that the majority of them had never traveled outside of Cusco and none had ever been on an airplane. For many of them our trip to Machu Picchu was the first time they had ever really traveled away from home.
So we decided to take them with us on our summer travels around South America.
Since we both currently survive on more of a “let’s have cheese and bread sandwiches for every meal” budget, we couldn’t afford to take all our girls with us, as much as we really wanted to. So we carry them with us in the form of a small red soccer ball (thanks Barratio!) that we had them all sign and write messages on before we left Cusco. We asked them where they most desired to travel in South America before we left and are trying to hit all the highlight places. Everywhere we go we take photos with the ball, encourage new friends to play around with it, and, most importantly, share our GirlSportWorks story with everyone we meet and spread the love all over the continent. Most recently we even took it a step further and left a mural of the GirlSportWorks logo and social media info on a wall in a hostel we stayed at in Punta Arenas. When we get back we can’t wait to share all the photos and stories with the girls!
In a backpacker’s world where every spare inch of space in your bag is precious, people always ask us why we are traveling with a soccer ball. This alone sparks interest about the work we are doing and normally ends in us proudly showing off photos or videos of the girls from back home. It’s a great conversation starter that has given us a lot of opportunities to share what working for GirlSportWorks means to us.
In Puerto Natales we even met two really nice guys who asked us if we had given the ball a name. Having never considered this before, we told them no, but are now thinking of options. So if anyone has any suggestions please send them out way! Until then, keep checking in with us on social media to follow our girls as they travel the world on our soon-to-be-named red soccer ball!
–Lydia and Alika