Sweaty and Satisfied
CAC volunteer CJ Fritz blogs from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and our work with the Municipal Council.
December 3rd 2015. A hectic national exam schedule for students across Tanzania saw our training start on Tuesday and run until Friday in order for local teachers attending our program to prepare their students for the exams that loomed.
Although we only had four days with our group, all forty participants – made up primarily of schoolteachers with a few coaches mixed in – made the program supremely enjoyable. Every morning began with big smiles and warm welcomes, making us feel less like wazungu (the Tanzanian term for foreigners) and more like close friends of the participants.
We had the unique opportunity to conduct our sessions in a newly opened sports complex complete with turf, futsal and basketball courts as well as sand pits for volleyball. The complex, sponsored by Sunderland Football Club in England, hosts many programs and provides activities for homeless and disadvantaged children in the area. It was fantastic to see such a great safe space that sustains so many helpful activities for children who need them.
During the week we focused mainly on financial literacy, HIV/AIDS prevention and gender equity, all of which were objectives set by the participants for the week. We also detailed some ways that the participants could effectively teach or coach large groups of children – because many of them work in overcrowded schools – and how to coach when they don’t have materials, which are sorely lacking for physical education programs at schools in the area.
The participants enthusiastically jumped into new games that addressed the problems that they were most passionate about, and many of them asked every day about when we would send them instructions on how to set up the games. They were very eager to study and implement the games they were learning. It was a very encouraging sign for sustainability during the year to come.
We spent four hours every morning with the participants in the sweltering heat and humidity, but they were so excited about the games that we had to insist on a water break.
By the time Friday rolled around many people asked if CAC could come back for a longer stay next year. Their eagerness to learn was unstoppable, their dedication to change undeniable and their focus on the issues at hand unwavering. I am confident that they will put to use what they learned this past week. I believe that the schools in which they teach and the teams over which they oversee are in the capable hands of teachers dedicated to change who will not settle for anything less.