Havana – As has now become tradition, at the end of November the Italian Embassy in Cuba promotes seven days worth of events in the city. There are exhibitions, debates, concerts and sport has also featured for some years now. Our project which is more Italian than Interista for the occasion is part of a programme to promote human development in 360 days. The Inter Campus tournament is at the Estadio La Polar which was previously a brewery before being converted into the country’s first artificial 11-a-side pitch and it will be where our visit to Havana closes with the first Italian Culture Week.
First though, there is a lot of theory and practice according to the Inter Campus methods. In particular, there are exercises on the pitch Joel, local coach at Plaza de la Revolución. Here David, is a boy full of energy is the leader of a group and he takes his teammates through drills as they threw the ball up and catch it. 20 boys trained three times a week as they’re entertained and taught about friendship on the pitch next to their school.
There are also a lot of activities at the centre of Playa where the pitch is coincidentally in front of the house of the Italian Embassy. Here, under Raul’s constant watch, the kids play sport and grow day after day. Together with them, we take part in precision drills to work on their patience and concentration. Samuél appears to be the mathematician of the group and he challenges us to a times tables contest which we inevitably lose.
Happiness and the desire to be together win out but without ever forgetting the educational value of sport. Because at times you win and at times you learn.