Monday, November 13, 2023

Queen of Katwe

As a young, poor child living in one of the harshest slums of Katwe in Uganda, Phiona Mutesi did not have any dreams for her future. Always hungry, nine year old Phiona followed her brothers in search of food. What she discovered would change her life forever. Phiona met an extraordinary man named Robert Katende. He was an educated missionary who worked with the Sports Outreach Institute teaching soccer and motivating children of the slums to strive for a better life. On colored cardboard with bottle cap pieces Robert Katende decided to teach a small group of children chess. It motivated and challenged them to think differently. When Phiona joined they had 25 players. At first the girls were separated. When she won all the girls, she moved on to beat all the boys. With a natural gift and unimaginable patience, Phiona became a champion. Strategizing her way through a tough game came naturally, it was a survival instinct she learned young. Robert became her coach and chess her escape from the harsh realities that surrounded their daily lives. Chess would be Phiona’s ticket to a world far outside of war torn Uganda. In 2010, 14 year old Phiona was selected to represent Africa at the World Chess Olympiad in Russia and this was only the beginning. A magnificent story of hope and faith, Phiona is truly an inspiration. A wonderful book and Disney movie adaptation - I loved them both! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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