We got up at 5am and watched a couple of the young lads prepare tea for all the boys in the home. After a breakfast of tea and bread we left Shamak and the other lads to meet the guys who are still living and sleeping on the street.
We arrived at an otherwise deserted field to find 25 boys stood around a temporary fire burning tyres and flip flops to get high. At least half were sniffing glue, dogs snarling and fighting all around them. Glue is the cheapest thing to get high on and, like any addiction, screws up the boys' lives.
We came to meet the boys and play football with them. A couple of them were edgy and slightly confrontational with us, but the vast majority welcomed us in. Two Norwegians (both ex-professionals) and one Englishman joined 20 or so street boys in torrential rain on a pitch that consisted of sand, huge puddles and rock. It resembled pictures of the terrain in the trenches of World War I
I have played in thousands of football matches in my life but this was perhaps my favourite. The boys, despite their problems, showed discipline, team spirit, a desire to win and played fairly.
The right winger on my side could dribble and cross the ball like a pro. How good would he be if he could get off the street?
My side lost the game 6-4. I scored two, including the goal of the game - a spectacular volley :) I also provided the biggest laugh of the day when I slipped in an almighty puddle, flew up in the air and landed horizontally in the water. Even the most drugged up of the boys laughed aloud.
I will always remember my time with the glue boys of Mombasa. I hope they make it off the street.