Kenya Post 1: The Most Expensive Soccer Ball Delivery Service on Earth

I’m on my way to Kenya, I’ve only made it to the Amsterdam airport. I’m already surrounded by missionaries on their way to Kenya. It seems that the last hold out for Jesus is on the African continent. I talked to one of them and found out that this particular group visits every year. Activities include:

Printing matching Jesus T-shirts
Taking soccer balls to schools
Buying uniforms for kids
Prayer in the slums
Prayer in the villages
Even more prayer in the prisons.

“We can show the kids what it’s like. Makes them realize how glad they are not to be poor.” Honestly, I didn’t know what to say, but I thought, while I looked at this portly gentleman from Tennessee, “I’m glad I’m not you”.

If prayer had an exchange rate, Africa might be the richest place on earth. Unfortunately, prayer does NOT have an exchange rate which leads me to ask what use these people really are.

Think about it. I estimate there are 50 people in this particular group. Each of them will probably cost approximately $3500 for the flights, accommodations, food and transport. That’s a grand total of $175,000. If there is a group on this particular flight once a week, then that’s $9,100,000 spent yearly carting Jesus to Kenya. I’m positive, however, that there are more missionaries fiying to Kenya every year, and positive that there are more missionaries flying to any of the 53 other African countries.

This total money spent on these groups must total in the hundreds of millions of dollars each and every year. It is the most expensive soccer ball delivery service on the planet.

About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

One response to “Kenya Post 1: The Most Expensive Soccer Ball Delivery Service on Earth”

  1. kumasaki says :

    I am wondering if this amount of money can be spent on infrastructure? I think people in Africa would appreciated much more than expensive soccer balls and prayers.

    For some reason, this article reminds me the days in which DIY people offered spaghetti or some kind of supper and money for gas when I was in the music band. I rather preferred cash so that I could buy my food by myself. Of course, gas is not the only cost for run a tour for a band, as well.

    Giving something is not solving the problem of poverty. I feel like these missionaries are just making people in countries in Africa beggar.

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