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July, 2012 – We now know how to take a plot of land with the personality of the Gobi Desert and turn it into a place of unbridled joy.  All it takes is 120 men working ten hour days for six months laboring with hoes and hammers and pry bars, moving entire mountains, filling in craters, moving tons of earth and laying sod.  And funds from kind and caring donors.  It has happened here in Rubanda, Southwest Uganda East Africa.

On July 16th, the Murole Primary School dedicated its new soccer pitch with a brass band, a parade, a flushing toilet for visitors, prayers, native dancing, speeches and games, glorious games.  CLICK HERE FOR A TERRIFIC VIDEO OF THE DAY

For this one day, the people of a remote subsistence farmer community still suffering in the grip of HIV/AIDS forgot their troubles and came together to cheer on their teams.  More than 3,000 people were served a hearty lunch.  The teams lined up to be blessed, looking sharp in their donated uniforms – well equipped as any team in the Western world.  Some wore shoes, some not.  A hodgepodge mixture of players, local tradesmen, an American missionary, visiting aid workers, the coach of the Crested Cranes, the national women’s football team and her American advisor.  The teams squared off and the first ball was kicked.  Back and forth they went, chasing the ball, team members learning to trust one another until one player, screened by her teammate, side-kicked the blessed ball into the goal.  They jumped and hugged, black and white, men and women, youngish and oldish, celebrating the first goal on the field.

The crowd cheered everyone.  A DJ kept the music coming.  Dust rose from the dry trampled earth.  Then a whistle blew to end the first game ever played on this field.  All players and coaches held hands in a circle proclaiming, win or lose, praise to Jesus, the savior who brings us together.

A second game of younger people, Murole Preparatory versus New Times ended in pandemonium as the home team took the day.  536 students rushed the field in pure joy to congratulate their players.

U.S. Project Coordinator Lee Mulder said, “at the end of the day, I could still not believe a ragged patch of ground had been turned into such a place of immense joy.  It is truly a miracle.”  School Director Norman Tushabe said, “You have no idea how important this place is… a place of community gathering, a place of education, a place of prayer, a place of raising up our children and, of course a place for the greatest game in Uganda.  This place will be used for the next hundred years and we will make champions here.”