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Cycling through Life with Ball and Bike

Ban was just ten when his father died. He was one of five kids and the first son. He felt hopeless and wondered how he would cope with his responsibility as successor. His heart fell into his mouth when he overheard his grandmother saying: ”I am now a woman without legs”.  “Father is gone but I am here”, he reminded himself.

Mr. Atamson had his eyes on him. He had watched him head his homemade rubber ball in the past.  “Ban, join our training tomorrow”, Mr Ban told him smiling. It was not long before Ban became the Eto’o Fils of the Bamenda Highlands.

People who knew him then say he was an extraordinary talent when it came to dribbling the ball and scoring the winning goal. Mr. Atam told BBC World, ‘The lad is a baobab tree. I’m not surprised as his coach then, where he is today’. “Ban is a boy with good hands”, his grandmother proudly told the crowd that watched the Lions qualify for the African Nations Cup. ”He makes everything from nothing”, she added shaking her head.

  As early as ten, barely a few months after his father joined their ancestors, Ban made his first wooden bike. The idea came to him during his manual art class.  At first, he used ’his one in town’ for running errands for his grandmother and mother. This craft soon paid off. Many other boys wanted their own bikes. This was a great job opportunity for Ban. It also meant long hours of work without play for a young boy of his age! His bike business grew popular and bigger. People in the village and neighbouring villages hired his services to do errands.

 In two months Ban got himself  a  pair of second hand sports shoes. He contributed towards family income, including getting basic commodities like matches, soap, salt and cooking oil for his grandmother. In his spare time, he trained with the rest of his team mates. His skill and creativity soon attracted the attention of village head teacher and chief. Ban received a regional award and later a national prize for creativity and enterprise.

Today, Ban is a football star. His ball and bike gave legs to his grandmother. His story is legs for many young people around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  •  

    Cynthia February 24th, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    An innocent and humbling tale. Very refreshing piece of work , it resembles watching a film in my mind

 

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