Cinema | Trading ‘fruitcakes’ for fútbol as ‘Soccer Project’ reaches La Paz

“We want fruitcakes for one-fourth of the prison.”

Luke and Rebekah are puzzled. “How will we carry three hundred fruitcakes?”

“You give us the money, and we buy the fruitcakes.”

So by “fruitcakes” they mean cash. We do some tallying in our heads—if we continue to eat bread, ham and bananas; if we buy the cheapest bus tickets to Peru; if we don’t have any unanticipated expenses, we’ll have enough to shell out $400 so we can play with the prisoners. This is how San Pedro works.

The following day, we hand over an envelope of cash and walk through the prison to the fútbol court. We walk by throngs of men who send up a chorus of low whistles as we pass.

There are double-balconies full of men, and when the referee in a brown sweater blows the whistle, all eyes are on the court.

© 2007 Gwendolyn Oxenham. All rights reserved.

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