Life lessons | Dribbling between cones to understand HIV

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Link to story about Dominican Soccer and HIV. Link opens Real Media Player.Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic | WBUR of Boston’s Only a Game lingers with Grassroot Soccer as it employs sport to educate children on sugar-cane plantations in the country’s southwest about HIV/AIDS. Although baseball dominates the domestic sporting scene, reporter Michael Cavanaugh points out that more than 1 million Haitians live in the country and predominate in the sugar-cane industry, living in compounds of small concrete houses; their sport of preference is soccer.

Migration of workers between the conjoined countries contributes to the spread of HIV. To understand risks, children dribble between cones representing dangers such as unprotected sex or prostitution.

Soccer is life for so many kids,” says Kirk Friedrich, managing director of Grassroot Soccer, which has similar programs in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ethiopia and the United States. “It breaks down cultural barriers. And when it comes to talking about HIV/AIDS, that can be one of the most important things.”

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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