ROBBINSDALE, Minn. – A group of kids living in the West African nation of Benin will soon be playing on a brand new baseball field thanks to some generous donors and two men who are willing to go the extra mile.
Six years ago, Minnesota optician Gary Tonsager traveled to Benin to deliver eye glasses to people living there, KARE reports.
While there, he started talking to his interpreter Fernando Atannon about baseball. Atannon watched YouTube videos and taught himself the sport, then passed along to the kids in his area.
Now, 120 boys are playing ball on a make-shift baseball field in Benin.
Recently, a dozen of those boys flew to Robbinsdale, Minnesota to play in a tournament. Gary Tonsager and his friend, Wally Langfellow organized the trip.
“These kids have just been locked in the whole time,” Langfellow told KARE. “There’s no question this is helping them.”
The boys attended their first professional baseball game, ate their first hot dogs and rode their first train in the two weeks they spent in Minnesota.
Tonsager and Langfellow have plans to return to Benin and build the boys a proper baseball field. They already have plans drawn up. Now, they’re raising money to make the dream a reality.