Hey Fed Fanatics! Here are a couple new photos from Roger Federer’s recent trip to Ethiopia, via Swiss magazine Schweizer Illustrierte.
There’s also a lengthy article – not in English – click here to check it out (and feel free to leave your translation, below*!)
*UPDATE* Huge thanks to reader Hetty for taking the time to translate the article for us. It is very well written (and translated!) Check out Hetty’s translation:
Roger Federer looks strange, his fully fit body, he wears white sneekers on his feet and he is wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a red baseballcap. A little bit shy, he shakes our hands, and than there comes a smile on his face. He says he is happy to be there.
We are in Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world. 80 million people live there on a piece of land thats 3 x as big as Germany. Every second Ethipian hasnt had any scholing. Average live expectation is 45 years. On every 1000 kids 90 die during birth.
We are on our way to Kore Roba with Roger, about 40 km north of Addis Abeba. At 2500 M high there is one of the 2 schools the worlds best tennisplayer is visiting. 400 kids between 6 and 13 years of age are learning there how to read, write and maths.
Fed goes in the bus and sits down on the last couch. It’s raining. We are driving through the streets from the main city.
Passing endless grey huts. Along the road there are people lying on the floor covered in a sheet,
only their naked feet are sticking out. When the bus stops, lots of streetkids surround the bus.
Touching the windows, one of the kids shouts “Federer, Federer we love you” The worldstar is touched by that.
“I am here for the first time, I never thought the kids from the streets would know me.”
Mr. Federer you are here with your foundation in Ethiopia why?
“My mother is from SA and is the inspiration for this foudnation. In 2003 we started in SA with a project.
Later on we had more money and started also here in Kore Roba.”
A foundation means a lot of work and time.
“I am very happy that i can help, I love it. I want to do more, but at this time I can´t
Whenever I stop playing tennis I will have more time for the foundation.”
After an hour trip, a sandy road. Fed wants to walk the last couple of meters. The Mercedes wont be used. The 2 bodyguards are paying attention. From far there are kids voices, as loud as a hurricane, the closer we get. From about 100 kids’ throats; “Roger our father, we wish you a long life!”
Fed’s eyes are getting wet (teary) the kids are very close by, Fed hardly can get through, there are kids’ hands everywere, everyone wants to touch the man who helps them with his money. Men with big sticks are keeping everybody away who wants to get to close to the tennisstar.
Later on we are sitting in a classroom. Rog is sitting on the frontdesk. His knee touches the top of the desk. On the walls there are childrens’ drawings, and the floors are covered with grass. No light. ABout 50 kids are being tought here at the same time. Only one teacher.
The lines on Feds T-shirt “I am tomorrows future” is coming from Nolonwabo Batinin, a 15 year old girl from Port Elizabeth in SA. The Roger Federer Foundation; started in 2003 each year invests 1 million Swiss Franks for help and schools in SA, Tansania, Mali Simbabwe and Ethiopia.
Rog is a good listener. He asks the school leaders if the new waterpumps are working well? And he also asks what the girls learn in “The Girls Club” The school leader laughs shy, “They learn the girls things that are usefull for them to know.” Fed asks if they teach them things about sexual ecudation. The school leader says yes.
The kids from Kore Roba are from farmer families, most families have 5 kids and lives from 300 dollars per year. For the lunch we are brought to a hall. 70 kids are sitting very quietly behind their tables. The lunch is traditonal Injera. kind of panecakes vegetables and rice. Keb who is 11 years old sits next to Roger, she keeps her head down, doesnt know what to do.
Fed lets her guess his age; she says; “I dont know how old you white people are; 45??!!”
How was your own childhood Mr. Federer?
“We lived in a small house, I played in the streets tennis; whenever a car came, we needed to get the net down quickly.”
You left school at 16 and went to Waadtland, Ecublens National training centre.
“I had difficulty learning, and the test…… when you dont understand the stuff they teach you, school is a pain. I was very shy early on, felt very uncomfortable, even against girls…..”
What did you learn from your parents?
“Respect and tolerance, I have been all over the world, when I was 13 I was for the first time in Australia for the holidays.”
What kind of influence did your parents have?
“My father was ambitious and strict, my mom was a little bit more relaxed and comforted me when I was homesick, when I played in another country.”
What do you regret from that time?
“I don’t have any friends from schooltime, the best friendships are beginning between 14 and 18 and I missed that.”
In the afternoon dark clouds are coming. Fed is willing to run against the best runner of the school. They made a court, its a race over 3 laps. Fed starts quickly and is running in front most of the kids. One little goat is running along.
Even against the goat, Fed doesnt have a chance.
After the run Nihlaa Omar 13 years old, is stepping forward. She saw Fed on tv “we know you are as famous as Kenenisa Bekele, 2 time Olympian winner of 10000 m, but lots of Ethiopian can win from you with running.”
Later on Fed talks to the elders of the tribe. And wishes them more progress. He shakes a lot of hands, and thanks them for their welcome.
We are going to a higher piece of land for the last shot of the day. A hard wind is comming and thunderclouds are forming.
“What I saw today has touched me deeply,” Fed says. He looks at the horizon. “I see that the help we are sending is getting here, thats why I continue this.” He sounds very determined. Than he walks away.
*End of translated article*
In related news, Roger Federer was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leaders” for 2010 (via egovmonitor.com):
The honour, bestowed each year by the Forum, recognizes and acknowledges up to 200 outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.
Drawn from a pool of almost 5,000 candidates, the Young Global Leaders 2010 were chosen by a selection committee, chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and comprised of eminent international media leaders.
The Young Global Leaders 2010 reflect regional and stakeholder diversity. They include Agatha Sangma, Minister of State – Rural Development (from India), Roger Federer, Professional Tennis Player (from Switzerland), Evan Williams, CEO, Twitter (from the USA), Kimmee Weeks, Executive Director, Youth Action International (from Liberia), Nathalie van Ypersele, Editor-in-Chief, Trends-Tendances (from Belgium), Mandla Mandela, Member of Parliament of the South African National Congress (from South Africa), Wyclef Jean, Singer and Founder, Yélé Haiti Foundation (from Haiti), Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, Chief Executive Officer, Vestergaard Frandsen (from Denmark), Hidetoshi Nakata, Chairman, Take Action Foundation (from Japan), and Nabil Alyousuf, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dubai School of Government (from the United Arab Emirates), among others.
“It is truly exciting to be able to contribute to a multicultural dialogue, tackling the key challenges and opportunities of tomorrow’s world,” said Nathalie van Ypersele, Editor-in-Chief of Trends-Tendances, the leading weekly business magazine in Belgium. “It is only through joint reflection and ambition that we can create the future we most desire.”
And here’s the video from Roger’s visit to Ethiopia, in case you didn’t see it yet:
Fellow World No. 1, Serena Williams, recently opened a school in Kenya. She also met both the Vice President and Prime Minister of the country. Click here for more on Serena’s charitable efforts.