The journey begins…

23 Sep

Picture the scene… its 5am in the departure terminal of Brussels Airport on a summer morning which threatens to burst into light at any moment as the sun is summoned from its brief slumber. Still grappling with the early morning wake up and the stodgy taste of my warm coffee, I am slouched over my laptop attempting to update my fieldwork notes when I notice a rather more sprightly middle-aged man directly across from me who appears fixated on my every move. Recognizing his vividly apparent enthusiasm, I get the sneaking suspicion he is preparing for the kind of interactive interrogation only experienced in an empty airport terminal before dawn. True to my suspicion, it isn’t long before he leans forward and asks in an eager but polite manner, ‘Are you one of those crazy online blogger journalists who are always tweeting and writing stories from your travels?

I couldn’t help but break into laughter at his sudden attempt at initiating conversation before informing him that I was returning from a period of fieldwork in Belgium for doctoral research. Knowing only too well that I’ve now opened the floodgates for his impending curiosity, he quickly responds by asking about my doctoral research. And so I set off on the arduous journey of introducing my PhD project as succinctly as I can muster, explaining that my work seeks to understand the process through which young West African boys are trafficked into European countries in the hope of playing professional football. With a much more frowned but engaged expression, he says, ‘child trafficking in footballers you say…  Can’t say I’ve heard of it’. He pauses briefly, and clearly reaching the climax of his fleeting interest in me, he jumps to his feet, grabs his luggage and says, ‘you should be one of those bloggers… I’d definitely read about that!’

And so with the persuasive thrust that only a complete stranger can deliver, here I am commencing a maiden voyage into the realm of the ‘crazy blogger’. While I may struggle to live up to such a billing, I hope that this blog can become a space in which I will share my thoughts and experiences as I continue to pursue success on the soccer field, commence my PhD fieldwork and prepare to depart North America for Western Africa. While I wish to avoid defining a thematic focus for my writing, it will in all likelihood range from a platform on which I discuss my academic adventures and breakthroughs in research, to a diary where I will detail the mundane realities of everyday life in West Africa for friends and family back ‘home’ – both in Ireland and increasingly in my adopted home, Toronto. Regardless of the subject matter, I warmly invite you to engage with the material, initiate discussion and share a laugh over the stories told as I enter the realm of the ‘crazy blogger’…

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Child Trafficking in Football


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