WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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Page 167 of 195

family and survived in a similar manner on what he could find in the forest. Luckily, he was reunited with his father and cousins at Lukole, but was heartbroken to learn that his mother and sister had not survived. Similar to the characters in the book, the boys were bullied to give up their few possessions, and others were talked into joining militia gangs. In 2001, a coach from the organization Right to Play arrived at the camp. Right to Play helps children in refugee camps use sport and play as a means to overcome hardships they have faced. The belief is that the skills learned in playing sports can help model ways to create peaceful com- munities by finding ways to reduce conflict and overcome differences. When Nzobonankira returned home in 2008, he helped create simi- lar activities in his village, based on what he had learned through Right to Play. He eventually led Right to Play's national team in Burundi. "In my home country, I didn't spend a day without having a meal," shares Nzobonankira with Bill Littlefield in an interview on WBUR's Only a Game. "[When I was at Lukole, it] was very strange. Strange people there, strange conditions. Actually, I come to realize that, can life — will life be like this?" He also notes that only when he was playing soccer was he able to relax. When Johann Koss, the Norwegian Olympic speed skater, started Right to Play, he had moments of self-doubt. On his first endeavor to help African refugees, he collected 13 tons of sports equipment from all over Norway and traveled down to Eritrea in Africa. When he met the country's president, Koss shared that he was not sure if he was right to C O U R T E S Y O F R I G H T T O P L A Y Benjamin Nzobonankira playing Follow the Leader with local children books "a means to overcome hardships" W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8 166

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