Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mkombozi

Can't write too much now, but I'm at the Mkombozi Centre for Street Children in Moshi, Tanzania (click on any pic for larger view).


One of the boys, Lukas, learned probably 20 skills within the first hour of jumping. Here's a short list, just to give you an idea. For those of you who jump, I'll understand if you're incredulous.

Double under
Double under cross
Toad
Inverse Toad
Leg over
Caboose
Frog
Pushup
A.S.
T.S.
and the clincher...A.S. double under to pushup

One hour - this guy is superhuman. Some of these skills take months to learn. We have another jumping session in a few minutes, so we'll see what else he and the other kids can pick up. Many of them have already learned how to do a double under, front cross, toad, etc. There is serious potential for a strong team here. I can't wait to come back to work with them more.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Aga Khan Academy


Wow...

Let me repeat that.

Wow...

I just spent the day at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya. It is the first of it's kind, and the model for what will soon be 18 academies across Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East. They recruit the best and brightest individuals from some of the poorest areas of the world, bring them to the academy, and give them a world-class education. Really, any explanation I provide will not do the school justice. Go to the website. http://www.akdn.org/academies_mombasa.asp Read about it. This however, will also not do it justice. For this I apologize. Just come visit.


video


I started at about 8:30 this morning, and worked with a few of the phys. ed. classes. Next was a performance for the junior school, followed by about 25 minutes of autographs. I worked with 5 or 6 of the teachers before lunch, and then worked with a few of the senior school boys who had picked up skills quickly during P.E. The school day ended with a performance for the senior school.

I feel like I'm saying a lot of the same things, but...the kids were really excited to learn. One thing that struck me about the academy was the students respect and appreciation for their teachers, the school, and the learning process. The campus is beautiful and the education here is preparing them for admission into the best universities in the world (in many cases on full scholarship). I really wish I could stay longer.

One of the students just passed by and said "You are really good. You inspired me."

That second bit got me. That's what I want to do - inspire as many people as possible to achieve great things. That's why I'm here. That's why I need to come back.

Peace and love from Africa.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A new team!


I left Iringa today. It's always hard saying goodbye to a place and group of of people you've grown close to; but now I have even more to look forward to when I come back.

Tuesday, I worked with the P-3 teacher (primary class 3) at Iringa International School for an hour. She picked up just about everything I showed her and in almost no time. The next day, she said she wasn't at all sore; even though she had jumped later that night and again in the morning. Apparently, she had done gymnastics and dance when she was younger; and had a good base to work from. I half-jokingly, half-hesitantly asked if she might consider coaching a team. She said: "Absolutely!" She seems really excited about jumping and working with the kids; and said I should stay in touch until I return. I left one of the DVDs and some of the ropes.

I visited the Ummu Salama School again this morning and performed for classes 4 through 7. Each performance was followed by ten more minutes of instruction; then 11 of the best students were selected for what may be the first Tanzanian jump rope team. I worked with that group for about a half an hour more before I had to head off to the bus station for the trip back to Dar es Salaam. I left behind 15 ropes and another instructional DVD; and I told them I expected back flips and quints by the time I returned. They all laughed.

Umma Salama School
Click on image for larger view

I was only in Iringa for two days; but there are now teachers who actually have the skills and who will be there every day; and a group of kids who are already a new team. With interest at both Ummu Salama School and Iringa International School; I am very optimistic that jump rope has a good start in the region.

Tomorrow, I'm traveling to Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa, Kenya. It's about a 12 hour trip from Dar to Mombasa by bus.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Iringa


I'm writing from the computer room at Iringa International School. I did a performance for the kids this morning, then went over to the Ummu Salama School (about a 5 minute walk) to perform for and teach to a small group of students.

Iringa International School
click any image for larger view

I'll be working with the kids at I.I.S. again during their break in 20 minutes, then after school for 3-4 hours. Tomorrow, I'll work with them during phys. ed. classes, then go back to Umma Salama for a performance for the entire school, and another workshop. I'll only be in Iringa for two days, and I'm really wishing I could stay longer. The kids are so enthusiastic and the area is beautiful.

Two of the teachers I spoke with at Ummu Salama are very interested in starting a team. They feel that there is a lot of potential, and love the idea of competing within the country, and ultimately internationally. They feel very strongly that by having the youth from several different countries coming together to share a common passion, to teach each other, and to have a chance to interact beyond the competition will be a great thing. It will be a truly unique cultural exchange. These kids will be the future leaders of the world, and for them understand and respect individuals who are culturally different from them will be very positive.


video
Jump rope practice at
Ummu Salama School

(For more videos, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/MikeFry09

I'm drinking as much water as I can, but still finding myself dehydrated. The other day I spilled some water in the dirt and watched as the ground drank it up in seconds. The heat can be brutal, and I'm most definitely sunburned.

I'm staying with a couple that teaches at I.I.S. The mother is from Senegal and the father from the U.K. They have two kids that are completely adorable. Everyone is friendly, enthusiastic, and so welcoming.

For anyone who may be reading this...I miss you. Peace.

Friday, January 16, 2009

First week


It's been a busy, amazing, inspiring, exhausting, energizing, unbelievable week.

I've spent most of each day working with the kids at Morogoro International school, and was able to arrange visits to three of the local schools - Mtawala, Mwembesongo, and Mchikichini (click on any pic for larger view).

The kids at M.I.S. range in age from 4 to 16, and they've been great - full of energy and eager to learn. Many of the older kids have even started to take on a teaching role for the younger students. The potential is definitely here.

Morogoro is beautiful. The school is right next to a huge mountain range. I've taken numerous photos to try to capture the view, but they won't do it justice. The facilities for phys. ed. classes are also good.

My time on the computer is running low, and I need to back at the school in half an hour, so I'll keep this short.

There will be three workshops tomorrow (9-11, 11-1, and 2-4). See video below of classroom session at Mtawala School:


. video


(For more videos, go to: http://www.youtube.com/user/MikeFry09

I leave for Iringa on Sunday, then Mombasa (in Kenya) on Wednesday, then back to Moshi after that. Then back to school for spring semester of senior year. Then back to Africa.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tomorrow


Tomorrow I leave for Tanzania! I fly out of Cleveland, and should land in Dar es Salaam by 7 a.m. on January 11th. Thank you so much to everyone who donated ropes and other materials. I'll take as many pictures as possible for you to see just how much your help means to the kids there.

See you all in three weeks.