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Hungry for a Better Life

Originally Published: November 13, 2008
By Wright Thompson
TAMALE, Ghana -- On the most important day of his life, Shadrak Kwabena wakes up hungry. He is 9 years old, his pencil legs covered in knee-high, hand-me-down yellow socks. This is the moment his mother imagined when she took him to the coach three years ago with a request: Please give my son a future.

He makes his way toward the mosque for morning prayer, the dirt streets pocked with rock and rubble. Around town, other boys slip into the pre-dawn darkness. The ones who own soccer cleats wear them; parents save for months to afford the $12 shoes. Many come barefoot. Word has spread; a scout is in Tamale, with strange words and customs, who possesses the mystical power to change a person's destiny forever.

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