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    Cups, plates, and bowls for all

    Day 240

    Setting the Table

    Today is our last day with the refugee athletes training at the Nairobi camp. But we’ll be staying in touch and keeping an eye on their progress toward the ultimate goal – the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. And we’ll keep you updated, too.

    These are remarkable young people making some incredible progress. Before arriving at the camp, many of them never trained formally or had any coaching. Now they’re competing on international stages, running with athletes who’ve been doing it for years.

    “Running promises peace and it gives you courage,” James told us. James is a member of the team, a refugee from South Sudan. “For refugees, to get to the Olympics, it takes courage. It is not easy. They consider us as a human being (at the Rio Olympics).”

    Before we left, we wanted to make what was, perhaps, the simplest change in our time with the team.

    Meal time was often a challenge at the camp. The cook prepares one evening meal for the athletes, but not everyone is around when dinner is ready. Some might still be training, or they might be out running an errand. It’s hard to have all 43 athletes in the same place at the same time – and dinner would often be cold by the time many of the athletes returned to the camp.

    So we purchased a couple of chafing dishes, where the cook could keep dinner warm for an hour or so and everyone would be able to have a warm meal. In the meantime, we learned that the team didn’t have enough utensils and dishes. The athletes would have to take eating in turns – wash their dishes and hand them over to a friend who could then eat their meal. We purchased enough place settings so that everyone currently at the camp would have their own sets plus a handful of additional sets for future arrivals or guests.

    This team – and every individual athlete is so inspiring, something so small as this was the least we could do. “We now know everything is possible, you just have to believe in yourself and work hard,” said James. “We as refugees, have a responsibility to help one another. We have to wake up and be responsible people. We encourage them (kids at the camp) to work hard when they are in the camp. They will not be there forever.”

    This change made possible by Atomic Data.

    Photos by Katie G. Nelson

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