A constant in my life: soccer

By Bold Journey Scholarship Recipient, André Bisimwa,

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Nothing was ever permanent or assured in my life. One day I have food and the next day I am starving. One moment I have a roof over my head and within a blink of an eye, I’m homeless. 

The lack of stability in my life is something I became accustomed to. While this was great for me, helping me be more adaptable to new environments, it was also truly devastating to my mindset. I never got to sleep comfortably in a house – as I knew it wasn’t permanent and I would soon be sleeping on the streets again. The ever-changing environment deprived me of living in the moment and appreciating the moment. 

Despite all the shuffling in my life, the one thing that was always and is still constant in my life is soccer. 

In Kenya, I could go out on the field and it was guaranteed that there would be children there to play soccer with. It did not matter at all which area I lived in, whether I had a roof over my head or not, there was a playground for me to go to play soccer. 

While I was on the field as defender, all I thought about was not letting the other team score and winning the game. Getting lost in a game was a good escape from my harsh reality. 

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André pictured with LSSNCA Grant Development Director, Susan Haine, at the 2019 Scholarship Reception

Since coming to the U.S, a lot of things have changed in my life, such as new guardians, new school, new food and of course a new environment. But the one thing that was still there was soccer. My abilities to play soccer did not disappear when I flew here. Soccer played a huge role in me integrating quickly with my schoolmates. 

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André pictured with Kevin Craft of the Maryland Governor’s Office

Going to college, I had a huge fear that I might have to give up the only stable thing in my life. I really did not want to go into debt in my freshman year of college, and I was prepared to give up playing soccer in college to be able to work and make some money. There was no chance that I could be on the school soccer team and have a job and still do well at school. 

With the help of my social worker, I was able to apply to the Bold Journey Scholarship and receive the scholarship. Because of that scholarship, I was able to not go into debt my freshman year and still play the sport I love so much, soccer. 

Soccer is my safe haven and I truly appreciate LSS for letting the one stable thing in my life stay stable.

 

*André is a 20-year old, young man from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He is pursuing a bachelor’s in psychology at Goucher College, with the goal of becoming either a therapist or a lawyer. He is a youth leader in Appalachia, a volunteer, and a soccer star. André stood out to our scholarship judges because he faced extreme hardship with dignity, positivity and grace. He has a humble demeanor and a desire to “pay it forward.” This is André’s second scholarship with LSSNCA and we congratulate him on being awarded a Bold Journey Scholarship.

 

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