Sunday, October 25, 2009

Morogoro

It's been a whirlwind of a week. I arrived in Morogoro last Thursday night (October 14) after a short 3 hour busride. Morogoro is a much smaller city than Dar, but the landscape is beautiful. There's a stunning mountain range just outside the house I'm staying in. I'll put up a picture as soon as I'm able to take one that even remotely does it justice. After a few days of settling in and exploring the town, the week of teaching began.

Monday - P.E. classes at Morogoro International School (M.I.S.) and meeting at the Faraja Trust Fund

Tuesday - Performance and teaching at the Faraja Trust School; Jump Rope Club at M.I.S.

Wednesday - Teaching at the Faraja Trust School; P.E. classes at M.I.S

Thursday - Performance and teaching at St. Francis de Sales Seminary

Friday - P.E. classes at M.I.S. and "Friday School" teaching session with students from M.I.S. and local schools

Saturday - 9-5 workshop (9-12 for M.I.S. students; 12-1 for Teachers; 1-2 for Lunch; 2-5 for Faraja Trust, St. Francis, and M.I.S. students)

As I said, it's been a busy week - but completely amazing. As I walked up to the Faraja School for my second day of teaching there, a few of the kids ran up to hug me. They all really like jumping, and they've been a blast to teach. Two of the boys can do pushups, and many of them have mastered the toad, inverse toad, and E.B. Here's a picture of the group.


The language barrier can make teaching slightly challenging at times, but it very rarely stands in the way of kids learning new skills. One of the great things about jump rope is that it is such a visual sport. All the kids I've taught have been able to learn primarily by watching. I've learned some phrases along the way that have made teaching easier when an explanation is needed.

Ruka juu zaidi - Jump up higher

Kamba ikiwa juu, ingia - When the rope is up, enter

Jaribu tena - Try again

Usisimame - Don't stop

Kama hii - Like this

Saturday was great. Morogoro International School offered their P.E. facility for an all day workshop, and students from Faraja and St. Francis came during the 2-5 session. It's amazing how quickly the kids learn - caboose, double under cross, 360, pushup, A.S. Unfortunately, frequent power cuts in Morogoro (3-4 times per week) make charging camera batteries difficult, and I was not able to take any pictures that day. Fortunately, a few of the teachers that came took plenty, and I'll post some of those soon.

I'm excited to see what the next week here brings. I leave for Iringa soon, so I will be teaching as much as possible over the next nine days.

Usiku mwema,

Mike

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Haven of Peace Academy

Last Friday, the Haven of Peace Academy (HOPAC) held a small jump rope competition between the school's “houses” - Black, Green, Yellow, and Blue, which are the colors of the Tanzanian flag. The event took place during a 30 minute lunch break, and students from all four houses competed in two events: Last-Person-Standing, and a Best Trick competition. Results are pending, but everyone had fun cheering for their house. Here's one of the pictures from the event. You can visit the "Photos" section of the website - http://www.oneworldonerope.org/ - for more.



The kids there have been great: so enthusiastic about jumping and always ready to try new skills. Many of the kids are jumping on their own at home – some every day. Several students were able to master the Toad, 360, and Double Under Cross. The P.E. teacher there, David Taylor, is a first cousin of U.S. Grand National Champion Liz Lyons, who jumps for the Kangaroo Kids in Maryland. David has been extremely helpful in classes, and has gotten to be a pretty good Double Dutch turner.

On Saturday, I performed for about 200 kids involved with a church group in Ubungo. Special thank you to Victor from HOPAC for arranging the show.


I've been working with the kids at Dogodogo on combining the skills they know into sequences, which can then be formed into a routine. This clip of Amisi is the only one I've had a chance to film so far, but Athumani and a few others have put together some nice combinations. Look for those soon.


video

I leave for Morogoro on Tuesday! I really can't wait to see the kids at M.I.S. again, and begin teaching in some of the local schools I visited last January. It's been almost nine months since my first visit. I know it's going to be hard saying goodbye to the kids here, but now I can look forward to coming back.

Mike