Drexel Faculty & Students at 2010 FIFA World Cup

Dr. Turco’s personal diary from South Africa :

Sunday 20 June 2010
In the afternoon, we went to Augrabies Falls outside Kakamas, a 120 km drive from Upington. The scenery on the drive is spectacular, rolling hills with vast vineyards before rising mountains beneath vivid clear blue skies. Even without grapes, the dried vines are beautiful and the bouquet of the vineyards can be intoxicating. In the evening, Florida and some members of the netball team she coaches hosted a braai for the students at Die Eiland Resort. Vors, lamb, beef steaks, and rolls were cooked over a wood fire. We talked, ate, and watched the Brasil v Ivory Coast match. Brother Reggie provided the music.

Monday 21 June 2010 – Upington
The morning started with a visit from Isidora Koetzee, Executive Director of Christanna, who explained the mission and services provided by the award winning NGO. Based in Upington, Christanna offers home hospice services to patients with HIV/AIDS and TB through a vast network of over 150 caregivers spanning 300 km in radius. Christanna works in association with the provincial health department. Caregivers receive extensive training and visit assigned patients daily, administering anti-retroviral treatments, counseling, and other health and social services. Funding for Christanna services comes from the provincial government’s health department and private donations. Isidora founded Christanna in 2003 providing hospice care on her own for several years. She has developed the organization into a model for home hospice care in Africa. Students walked with Christanna Caregivers to the informal settlements in Progress and Morning Glory and met with some of the patients in their homes learn about their conditions and the care Christanna provides.

In the afternoon, students worked with twelve members of the St Vincent de Paul Society at St Augustine’s co-Cathedral and Mission to deliver food aid to the poorest of residents in Paballelo, Rosedale, and Progress, townships on the outskirts of Upington. Some students drove in a buckey (pick-up truck) to Rosedale and others to Paballelo where they handed food packs consisting of mealey-meal, rice, legumes, flour, and other staples to the head of households. In most cases, home dwellers are ill or disabled, unemployed, and/or caring for other family members. They live in make-shift homes of plywood scraps, corrugated metal, with little if any furniture on dirt floors. Sometimes, seven or eight members of a family are living in a shanty the size of an average dormitory room.

Barefoot children followed us as we walked the dust-sand roads from house to house. They chased after the buckey as it wound through Rosedale as the students photographed their efforts. Some children started informal football games with the students, using old deflated balls and stone markers for goals.

The Diocese of Keimoes-Upington operates a mill that produces the flour distributed by the St Vincent de Paul Society. This social enterprise provides dignified employment and a quality food product for residents of the Northern Cape. Members of the St Vincent de Paul Society are neighbors of these food parcel recipients. The Society is committed to aiding those in greatest need in the community. For the visitor it is difficult to distinguish who is in most need from the appearance of the informal homes. They all look in similar condition.

A food parcel costs R 200 and feeds a family of four for a month. The food parcels distributed by Drexel University were purchased from funds collected at the annual Holy Cow! Track and Field Meet in Bethlehem. Florida Brandt stopped over in the evening to say good-bye to our group. It would be nice if we could contribute to her youth sport efforts. There is so much need and little funding to provide proper equipment or uniforms for the children’s teams. The phrase for the day is buyha dahnke – thank you very much in Afrikaans.

Tuesday 22 June 2010
We departed Upington at 5:00 a.m. to arrive in Cape Town by mid-afternoon. Most of the students slept for several hours on the journey. The stars are brilliant in the pre-dawn hours above the Northern Cape. Our driver, ebrahim, delivered us safely Cape Town in time to watch the Bafana Bafana v France match on television.

23 June 2010 – Cape Town
We took the ferry from the V & A Waterfront to Robben Island this morning at 09:00. The weather was beautiful and the ocean was relatively calm, though Alain did get sick on the journey. Upon arrival on the island, we received a guided tour of some of the buildings. A former prison guard for Nelson Mandella met with us and described how he secretly arranged, against prison policy, to let Mandella see his grandson. Our tour was led by a former prisoner of Robben Island, making for an informative, powerful, and emotional experience. Upon returning to Cape Town, the students conducted visitor interviews at the FIFA Fan Park before the USA v Algeria match. In the afternoon, I delivered a presentation at the CHEC Research Hub Seminar, located at the Cape Town Civic Center, titled: What’s up in Upington: Non-host resident perceptions of the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Tomorrow we are finishing our contribution to the on-site research effort. Most of the students depart for the USA on Friday.

Douglas Michele Turco, Ph.D., 
Associate Professor Executive Director, i-Team (International Sport Tourism Research co-Laboratory)
Department of Sport Management Drexel University
3001 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104
TEL: 215.823.9114; E: douglas.turco@drexel.edu


The photos are of Drexel University students delivering food aid to residents of informal settlements near Upington, a community in the Northern Cape on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Students were assisting the St Vincent de Paul Society of St Augustine's co-Cathedral and Mission 21 June 2010.