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The World's Game in Guatemala

13 February 10:48 am

The World's Game in Guatemala

By David Dollase

David Dollase is the Director of Safety and Security at Sporting Park and received the 2012 National Sports Safety and Security Professional of the Year Award. He arrived in Guatemala on Saturday and will return to Kansas City on Feb. 17th. He will be providing updates, photos and more throughout the trip for SportingKC.com. Below is his fifth report; click here for Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

Once again we left at sunrise. The trip to today's town was only about an hour or so and there was much less to see on the road. When were turned off the main road, and I use this term loosely at best, it was a short winding downward spiral to our destination. Along the way we passed carts pulled by horses headed to the fields and loaded with farm tools that looked as though they were from he early 1800's. It is a way of life here that keeps these people busy from sun up to sun down doing hard labor.

When we arrived at our destination, everyone was told by the Policia Municipal to stay within our compound due to the somewhat hostile nature of the town. Unfortunately for me, I left the hotel without the hand pump I use to inflate the soccer balls. I helped the students and doctors set up and quietly snuck out with a sack of balls in search of a tire shop with a needle that would work. I surely stuck out as I walked the cobble streets and was about to give up when I spotted what I was looking for. After an agreement of five quetzales to inflate the four balls, it was short work and I was back on the street. It was an uneventful walk that allowed me to see much more of the city.

As I returned, I was greeted by a line out the door and down the street of a few hundred people that had come for the clinic. I took a moment to give away a used ball and the children that were waiting patiently were off and running with smiles on their faces playing soccer in the church courtyard.

A similar arrangement was made with the town mayor to show me the school that needed the most and at 11:00 we set off. I was a little surprised as I was ready for a long journey but the school was literally next door. There were hundreds of children and it was awesome giving them the shirts and balls to use. Many of the children put their shirts on right away, while others took great care to put them neatly away as they were prized possessions.

I stayed long enough for a few pictures and then headed back to the clinic. Today they saw over 500 people and I was put to work dispensing medications from the pharmacy. It was a true test of the little Spanish I thought I knew but it comes back quickly when you're forced to remember. Everyone was so incredibly thankful and wanted to hug you as they were leaving. Smiles come in many forms, some of which put a smile on your face while others are very humbling. Today was tiring yet fulfilling and I left with lots to think about.