Les jeux de l'amitié, the friendship games: the main theme of our summer visit to Cameroon. In collaboration with the Centre Sportif Camerounais, which is linked to the Educational Orientation Centre of the diocese of Milan in Mbalmayo, our partner for almost twenty years, we decided to increase the emphasis on sharing and playing together as opposed to competing. Of course a bit of competition is nothing harmful: children love to play, win and show that they are ‘better than those in the next neighbourhood'. The important thing is to understand the value of friendship through sport, something which is even more relevant at this difficult time for the country, with clashes between the French-speaking majority and the clear English-speaking minority (20%) in Cameroon. First came a visit to each of the projects in the central area (Yaounde-Mbalmayo) to check up on how things are going in person. This also provided an opportunity to bring some entertainment to the children in training with our Lorenzo and Davide, who really know how to help them let off steam, laugh and learn at the same time, all with a ball at their feet.
Then everyone came together at the EFAC Centre (training and cultural assistance), with more than twenty coaches from all over the country (those from Yokadouma in the East and Garoua in the North travelled for two days to be present). There we had a theoretical and practical training course on the principles of 'playing together', which was all put into practice on the training pitch with boys and girls from the ten local projects. The coaches shared board and lodging over the two days and exchanged individual experiences with each other. At the end, as always with the precious help of our local Proud Partner ‘Piccini Group’ who support us with great generosity, there was a final mini-tournament with two hundred children from all the Inter Campus groups in the area. After the games, in order to underline that it doesn't matter if you win or lose as long as you play together, all the children were rewarded with fruit and biscuits! Play together, 'play with' and not 'against'. This message was well received these past days, and if the children really take it on board, it can only be a good thing for the future of this country.