It was magical to witness the meeting between Middlesbrough striker, Kei Kamara and CAFOD partner, Patrick Jamiru at Rockliffe Park training ground yesterday, as they surprised everyone by breaking into their native Mende language! The pair settled easily into a mutual rapport as they revelled in an obvious shared love and concern for their homeland and it’s people.
The meeting had been kindly facilitated through Mike McGeary to promote our Lent Appeal ‘Dig Deep’ that focuses on our work in Kenema, which also happens to be Kei’s birth town. Kei spoke passionately and at length to the invited press about his own personal experiences during the eleven year civil war and his current work to help young people to achieve their aspirations through supporting their education. He thought it was amazing that people here in England and Wales could respond to the needs of people in his homeland. Meanwhile, Patrick was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the ‘international footballer’ at the beginning of his Speaker Tour which will take him around the country. Outside the pair enjoyed a kick about in front of the gathered news cameras and generously gave individual interviews. Over an hour later, Kei, who had already been so obliging, showed the characteristic warmth and hospitality of his culture and recorded a message for our Lent appeal especially for CAFOD supporters. Like yesterday’s meeting, that promises to be worth the wait – watch out for it on our website!