Kuku Dance in Dodoma
CAC volunteer CJ Fritz discusses his first week in Tanzania with Dodoma Stars.
November 11th 2015. After having a week off to travel half way across the globe, Nora, Ruben and I reunited once again in Tanzania. Our six-week excursion through Tanzania began last week in the capitol city of Dodoma.
The participants went crazy for Hands Against HIV – a sexual health game where players form a circle around one participant and attempt to “infect” him/her with HIV/AIDS by striking them below the knees with a ball. On multiple occasions while playing, they seemed like kids again, begging to play for just a few more minutes. The message of the game sunk in well and they had a great time playing it.
Nothing, though, brought more smiles from the group than the Kuku Dance – a variation on the Chicken Dance – that Nora made popular during her last coaching stint in Africa. The group adopted it as their go-to celebration throughout the week.
From start to finish our group of about 40 participants were challenged by the idea of letting children make too many decisions. From a very young age, children in the Tanzanian school system are not given the option to decide many things for themselves and, as products of that system it was logical that they didn’t seem to think that it was much of an issue. It took some time, but by the end of the week they began to come around about the topic; hopefully they will continue to work toward employing self-directed learning for their students and players.
We had twenty hours with participants throughout the week and spent three afternoons at local elementary schools where participants took turns coaching CAC games from our sessions. The kids had a blast and the participants absolutely loved putting their newfound knowledge to use.
We had to cancel one afternoon session at a school since it was the day of the inauguration of Tanzania’s new President Magufuli. Although it was a national holiday, the participants still came to our session. In the week leading up to the inauguration, people were in high spirits about their newest leader. Major roads were decorated with Magufuli posters and CCM – Magufuli’s political party – flags. Not only were the roads decorated, but just about every third person served as a walking Magufuli advertisement. So, on Thursday afternoon, eyes turned from the pitch to the television.
It was an absolute delight to begin our time in Tanzania with this group from Dodoma. They were some of the happiest, most positive people who I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They greeted us every morning with huge smiles and met every new game and challenge with positivity and enthusiasm. Their great attitude as a group made the week a smooth and enjoyable success.