• On Martabak and Football

    May 10th 2016. Community Impact Coach Patrina Caceres, from our partners Football for Life in the Philippines, discussed working with CAC and Uni Papua in Indonesia.

    Last February, when I learned from my supervisor at the Football for Life (F4L) program that I have been assigned for a coaching stint as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) in Jakarta by Coaches Across Continents (CAC), I was at a loss for words.  I almost screamed at the coffee shop and tears collected in my eyes.  That was the best news that I have received since starting as a football for social impact coach in 2014.  Fast forward to April. With the first two weeks spent organizing with FundLife International (Football for Life’s mother organization) and participating in a third-year CAC seminar in Tacloban City from the 6th to the 9th and leading a second-year CAC seminar in Baybay City on the 11th to the 14th, I only had little time to pack my bags for the trip to Manila-Singapore-Jakarta on the 16th, which was no problem, because I’m a light packer.

    Charlie Crawford (team leader for the Philippines – Tacloban and Baybay – seminars) who was also going to lead the Indonesia trainings, flew to Manila with me in the morning of the sixteenth but we had different airlines for the Manila-Jakarta trip.  I was flying solo to a foreign country, something that made me anxious a bit.  Good thing that I had a book with me which made me feel comfortable in my trip.  Despite the delay of arrival in Singapore and an almost closed gate for my Singapore-Jakarta flight, the plane ride to Jakarta was without any other hassle.  Arriving in Jakarta, I was expecting a welcome committee when I went out of the terminal.  But nobody from Uni Papua, the partner organization of CAC, was there.

    Finding myself alone in a foreign country made me nervous so I went back inside the airport to breathe and think of a solution to solve my problem.  I asked which terminal the other international airlines landed.  “Terminal two”, the kind airport lady told me, so I jumped inside a shuttle bus to terminal two.  And indeed, there they were, Maria and Andi, the welcome committee, I tapped their back and introduced myself.  They were quite embarrassed that they didn’t know that I was going to land in terminal three.  “No harm done”, I told them.  And “Charlie ought to be proud of me, because I solved my problem by asking the right questions”.  Jon Eisen, a CAC volunteer from the United States arrived next.  The CAC Indonesia team was completed upon Charlie’s arrival at the airport.  My first impressions of people, places and things are almost always accurate, that’s the intuitive side to my personality.  I thought to myself that Charlie, Jon and I will click and make a great team, that I will learn a lot from the partner organization and that I will fall in love with Jakarta.

    The CAC training would begin on the Monday.  Having our Sunday free, we met with the Uni Papua Founder, Mr. Harry Widjaja, a gracious and generous man, who took us out for a meal in a fancy café, talked to us about the social football organization then he tagged us along to watch a movie, VIP style.  First day of the training, April 18th, was spent with introductions and curious eyes on me, being the only female coach on the CAC team, and one of only two females present that time.  From that moment, I had a mission, of challenging every participant’s views on gender, equality and society.  We started the training with the famous Circle of Friends then more games that taught about health and wellness, gender equality and fun were played.  The end of the first day training saw us tired, so Charlie introduced us to martabak manis, his most favorite dessert in the world.  Tasting it was sensational – though it simply looks like pancake, it’s not just pancake.  It is martabak manis.  It has become my most favorite dessert too. Martabak manis has mostly been a part of our evening routine except Wednesday of the Jakarta week.

    On the second day of training, I led Solo Skills for Life, a game that teaches the basic goalkeeping throws. I emphasized to the participants to use their voice while doing the skills.  This would ensure that the skill will be mastered and at the same time, participants will be confident to use their voice, and with seminars like this, CAC aims to develop community leaders who would be able to adapt and teach the games according to the needs of their community.  The highlight of the third day of the training for me was one of the ASK for Choice Curriculum Games called Brazil for Attitudes, it’s a game were participants are asked to do things “like a girl” or “like a boy”.  It was fun watching full-grown men goof around, but at the same time, made me wonder why they were running, skipping, dancing, hopping or what-not in a silly manner when I told them to do things “like a girl”.  When I huddled them and discussed the social impact of the game, I asked whether they see female athletes move the way they did during the game and how the girls and women in their life would react to the thought of doing things like a girl as a form of weakness.  That’s when they realized that the stereotypes that they have of women must be challenged.

    The fourth day of the training mostly featured Child’s Rights Games and a Child’s Rights Talk near the end.  During the child’s rights talk near the end of the day, experiences growing up as a child in Indonesia were shared, and how they have a common belief that the negative aspects that they went through should not be experienced by any child.  It was a rather serious and emotional talk that we needed to have a breather after.  The break from the seriousness was the most fun part of the day.  We played Scary Soccer, a live rock-paper-scissors kind-of-game, featuring moves for goalkeeper, striker and midfielder.  The youngest participant of the day was a twelve-year-old boy who was never tagged in the progression of the game, where the team that loses are chased by the winning team and once they’re tagged, they join the other team.  Talk about how an empowered child who doesn’t get tagged at scary soccer wins at life!

    Day five was coach-backs, where participants go into pairs and choose a game from a list of the games taught for the entire week and they coach the game back.  The coach-participants were very creative at modifying and making the games their own and that’s exactly what we want, that they be comfortable enough to teach the games the way they deem necessary.  What was most impressive, was the three youngest participants, teenage boys of 12, 13 and 15 who coached “Old Trafford Tag” as a group and how they transformed from the shy and quiet kids to “coaches” saying the instructions and explaining the social messages after the game was played.  These three kids have a potential at coaching too, seeing them step up made me hopeful at the bright future there is for Indonesian football for social impact.

    And oh, going back to my first impressions… They were right.  Charlie, Jon and I have forged friendships along with the Uni Papua Salatiga coaches with whom we lived with at the Our Daily Bread Office guesthouse, caring Maria who always made sure that our needs were met, like tea that makes me burp a lot, thus the nickname “Burpie”, helpful Andi and his funny giggle, energetic Yan and his very delicious Papuan’s pizza.  I have learned a lot from Mr. Harry about the organization through the success tips talk we had over lunch before I left Jakarta.  And yes, I have fallen in love with Jakarta, because of the food and because of the participants of the training.  What better way to fall in love with a place than because of the food and the people.

    Martabak 2