* Puno Children¡¯s Soccer Team

* The writer at a TV interview covering the soccer class
My first impression of Lima, the capital of Peru, was that it was a developed and sophisticated city that you can find anywhere in the Global North. I wondered why Peru would request for overseas volunteers when they were not as impoverished as some of the other countries in the world. However, after traveling for a short while, I found myself in the middle of a poor rural region in the outskirts of the capital. The infamous inequality and uneven distribution of wealth in Latin America was very evident here. Puno is one of the five poorest towns in Peru. The region is so poor that people place black-painted water tanks on their roofs during the day time to warm up the water with the sunlight.

¡ã Delivering tactics for the competition
I was so ambitious when I first arrived here, but there were many obstacles that I had to overcome. The high altitude was the first obstacle that I had to overcome. The ¡®3,820m above sea level¡¯ had not been real to me until I actually arrived here. Many colleagues here suffered from continuous headaches, nausea and dizziness. My symptoms were not as severe, thankfully, but I did struggle for a few days.
When I finally overcame the altitude sickness, I encountered another obstacle: a strike by the professors at a university where I was dispatched to. It seemed like a strike for wage increase for the professors was taking place nation-wide. I was deeply frustrated by the continuous obstacles I had to face, and it was then when I came up with the idea of opening a children¡¯s soccer class.
Before I was dispatched to Peru as an overseas volunteer, I had worked at a sports marketing company where I managed charity work for children from low-income house holds.

Never close your eyes when pass with a header
This is the youngest player in our team
Now I¡¯m a master!

Based on that experience, I organized a soccer team for the local children in Puno with help of the university, which allowed us to use its field and sports equipment. I was keen to limit my role in managing the team so that the university staff could carry on the class on their own after I departed Peru.
I continued training the soccer team even after the strike was over. The university students also enthusiastically participated in the training of the children. Later, the team entered a soccer tournament in the region and reached the semi-finals.
While I was ambitiously involved in the team, I also had an opportunity to have a series of interviews with the local radio and TV stations for the recruitment of the players. I was so proud to see the young players wearing uniforms with the national flag of Korea on it. I felt much honored indeed to work as a civilian sports diplomat of Korea, and glad to see the happy faces of the children when we played soccer together.