Select a day
5 Sunday
6 Monday
7 Tuesday
8 Wednesday
9 Thursday
10 Friday
11 Saturday
12 Sunday
World Games,
Winter World



A Lasting Memory of Budapest
Team USA athlete and TransWeb guest correspondent Tom Henry shares his impressions of the 1999 World Transplant Games

Walking into this school gym was not much different from any other you might see in the USA, but this particular day would serve up a precious memory for me. As a member of Team USA Volley Ball I had expected a full day of sweat and competition, but what I got was a lesson in friendship & compassion. After a less that great performance in the competition, team USA found itself on the sideline watching the medal rounds.

Up to this point in my trip I was not sure how the locals were feeling about this invasion of people into their hometown. Just the day before I was walking down the street and I had seen a small boy walking with his mother. As I passed by the boy I rubbed his head in a playful hair messing way. His response was a look of uncertainty.

Well today things would change and I would be allowed to witness an act that to me was a very moving memory. Several kids began to arrive in the gym area to see what the ruckus was. At first they were a bit shy and reserved but after a few sticks of gum from the Americans, they began to open up to us. Several kids began asking for our autographs and many photos were taken. This one little girl was waiting in line for her chance to get the team to autograph her paper. As she waited some of us began to give out American dollars to the kids. When it was her turn to receive some money we ran out of dollars. So one of our team members decided to give her a five dollar bill. She crammed it in her pocket and scurried away. I remember thinking to myself that she had just received a whopping 1,000 forints. This must have been a great deal of money for a ten year old to have. I was sure that she would hide it and ponder her wealth. A few minutes later the little girl re-appeared in the gym and approached me. She requested, in her best English, that I make change for the five. I found a member of our team to make change. He gave her five ones.

What happened next would be my lasting impression of Budapest. The little girl that I just seen running from the gym with here jackpot stuffed in her pocket had returned to get change so she could share a dollar with each of four friends. I guess that children worldwide have a way of bringing out the best in all of us.

More Photos from Wednesday
Photography by Peter Ottlakan and Douglas Armstrong



XII World Transplant Games webcast front page Photo Gallery About the World Transplant Games Sponsors of the Webcast XII World Transplant Games webcast front page Sponsors of the Webcast Behind the Scenes Contact the Webcast Team Press Information Photo Gallery

Last modified: 11 May 2000