Are we going hunting?" --Rachel Starnes upon entering a game reserve where a lion park was located.

GALLERIES

Day-by-Day Photos of the Trip

The Trip
The Team
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Last Day of Camp

By Natalie Hensley and Rachel Starnes

Team

Grassroot Soccer Coaches Titi, left, and Jessie Cates-Bristol, second from left, lead "Juggling My Life" on Thursday. (Alice Keeney for the Washington Post)

Lying on our bed, enjoying our usual bowls of Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes topped with piles of sugar, we are nervously awaiting our third and final soccer match.

The morning started like always with the 7:30 a.m. breakfast, which apparently the coaches assume that all 11 players are capable of getting to without the help of an alarm clock. We were missing a fellow player because thanks to the South African "winter," teammate Jo wasn't feeling her best.

At soccer/AIDS camp, run by Grassroot Soccer, we were greeted by the South African girls who have become our new friends. Together we did exercises helping us all understand how quickly HIV can spread in a short period of time. We then were able to show the South African girls a fun game of Dodgeball, so popular now in the States that it's on the big screen.

After lunch, we split into four teams named Portugal, Brazil, Germany and South Africa. We practiced skits, dances, and songs that we will do tomorrow at the graduation ceremony. Many of us got grief from our coach Ian for not having rhythm. Or maybe he was just bitter from suffering from what he calls too much QT with the DCB; (quality time with the D.C. Blast).

We ended our last full day at camp with another Grassroot activity called HIV Attacks. Four volunteers represented a human being, the immune system, HIV, and anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). The remaining girls, representing germs, circled around the volunteers. The game's purpose was to show how HIV affects the immune system and how ARVs are necessary to slow down the virus and help the immune system regain its strength.

In the last 10 minutes of camp, we presented Grassroot Soccer with a $5,000 grant to help them continue the work that they do. Then we handed out "Goals for Girls" T-shirts to our fellow campers. Seeing the girls' delighted faces was hard, knowing that tomorrow we would have to say goodbye.

We're off now to our final match in South Africa against a famously tough women's team twice our age and experience!

By Laura Sessions Stepp
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Comments

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Thanks so much for keeping up with the blogging! Sounds like you all are having a fun and instructive trip.

Posted by: Sam | July 6, 2007 01:49 PM

I hope that Jo girl gets well quickly - so she can enjoy her last days on this wonderful journey - and she needs to get me a photo of an elephant in the wild!

Posted by: katherine | July 6, 2007 02:22 PM

I hope that Jo girl gets well quickly - so she can enjoy her last days on this wonderful journey - and she needs to get me a photo of an elephant in the wild!

Posted by: katherine | July 6, 2007 02:22 PM

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