Today I met 20 wonderful children at Nira Orphanage and Youth Home on the outskirts of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Like many nations they are futeboll (soccer crazy). I brought a ball with me and thanks to a pump supplied by the Button family in Calgary we were ready for a game. We played behind the orphanage on the packed, dusty earth.

Our goal posts were quickly assembled from palm fronds, flip flops, concrete, and tree limbs.  Can you imagine the out of bounds consisting of a hedge that played double duty as a place to hang and dry clothes, stacks of wood for the outdoor stove, a small garden plot wrapped in nets to prevent the resident goat from eating them, and the trash pile full of ashes and yet to be burned garbage. Oh my, what a sight! The sounds and smiles were the most thrilling part of all. Squeals, and laughter, shouts of victory and groans of defeat. The children really work as a team. When someone sat out who had shoes, they would give them up to another child that was playing in bare feet. Some were wearing sandals, partially broken crocks, flip flops, and water shoes. No one was wearing running shoes or soccer cleats and yet we all managed to have a blast.

I observed a lot of adaptability in these children. From shoe swaps to player substitutions as they took turns washing their clothes in the single wash basin they all shared. And I thought I had it tough growing up having to share a room with my sister. Each day provides me with a new source of gratitude. What’s new on your gratitude list today?