I am not going to lie and try to make you believe I am a football fanatic. If anything, I am usually the person who on hearing the word “football” rolls my eyes and switches off. With football back in season and the Premier League on our screens from Saturday it will soon be difficult to completely avoid though.
But what has this got to do with the drinks we sell, I hear you ask?
As the National Account Manager for One Drinks, my most recent trip to Malawi gave me the opportunity to witness one of the most inspiring football matches I have seen.
It was the One Drinks Customer Insight group vs. the local community that we had the pleasure of visiting.
The game was entirely spontaneous. Everyone got involved and multiple generations joined forces to create teams. Goal posts were made from tatty jumpers and a pristine football we had brought along as a gift replaced the current ball, which had been made from mud and straw wrapped in plastic and held together by string. A brutal reminder of their desperate circumstances, if ever there was one.
Within minutes of suggesting a game, the dusty land was scattered with children tumbling all over the floor and filled with the sound of their fits of laughter. It was the most chaotic, fast, hilarious, rowdy match I have seen. It was pure pandemonium. It visibly brought incredible joy to all involved and is an experience that will stay with me for my lifetime.
This was a community whose current water source was a dirty river. A community who, with our aid, was having a borehole drilled to give them access to clean, safe water. This new water source would help them eliminate illness from water borne diseases and save women and children from walking hours to collect water from their nearest pump.
The game could have gone on for hours but with more projects to visit, we crowned the community the winners and headed on our way.
My message to you is that by supporting and buying our drinks, we are able to raise vital funds for these communities.
When I start seeing football on my screen in a few days time, it will be a reminder for myself that football has the ability to remove barriers. It is an international language that anyone, from any walk of life, can understand and certainly has the incredible power of bringing people together.