BARUCH STUDENTS VISIT SOUTH AFRICA: CUNYAC GOODWILL TOUR IS AN EYE-OPENER
New York, NY-August 29, 2006 --They toured South Africa armed with soccer balls and tee-shirts, teddy bears and crayons. Two Baruch students, Thomas Murdoch ’07 and Caner Yilmaz ’08 were on the 18-man roster of student soccer players taking part in the 4th annual CUNYAC Goodwill Tour. The tour, which sent athletes from throughout CUNY abroad, is intended to build cultural bridges, celebrate sport, and expand everyone’s horizons.
The South African tour, from July 25-August 6, included four exhibition matches against local Cape Town and Johannesburg teams, soccer “clinics” at which the Baruch students coached South Africa’s soccer-stars-of-tomorrow, and a visit to the children’s ward of a Johannesburg hospital. At the hospital, CUNY students handed out coloring books, crayons, backpacks and teddy bears to the children, many of whom were infected with HIV.
According to Tom Murdoch, South Africa was a pretty amazing experience. In addition to the exhibition matches, the students visited the Nelson Mandela Museum which traces the bitter history of apartheid, as well as its ultimate demise, and the Pisanesberg National Park where they got to view, up close, “stuff you only see on the Disney Channel.” When they put on teaching clinics for South African children, Murdoch said “it made us feel like big-time superstars, even though we’re not.”
The students were deeply impressed with the sheer physical beauty of the South Africa landscape. Because that country has already been selected as the site for the 2010 World Cup, visiting locales that will one day play host to the world’s greatest players, provided an extra kick. But despite the economic strides South Africa has made, and the middle-class enclaves in Soweto and elsewhere, Murdoch, Yilmaz and their teammates found themselves giving away personal belongings, primarily footwear, to South Africa’s soccer enthusiasts. “They still need so much,” Murdoch reflected.
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