Three small refugee children from Myanmar--Nee, Mee and Bae-- just arrived in Portland this summer and were sponsored by Rotary and others to attend a Peace Village camp.

But there was a hitch: They couldn’t speak a word of English.

Enter Seroosh, another refugee child newly arrived from Afghanistan.

“We need a soccer ball,” he said. Wise beyond his years, Seroosh realized that soccer provides a type of communication and fun known and understood around the world.

So we brought in a soccer ball.  And on every break, during lunch, and after camp, all the kids at Peace Village had a great time playing soccer together. 

At the end of camp, each child has an opportunity to give a flower to another child and to tell them what that person meant to them during camp.  When it was Nee’s turn, he picked up a flower, handed it to Seroosh, and said one his very first words in a new language: “Friend.”  

This story is a beautiful example of what can happen at a Peace Village camp when we work together with people from other cultures and reach out to make new friends.