• Coaches With the Cows

    IMG_3917August 22, 2013.  Coaches Kefhira, AJ, and Oti headed west to Kitale for CAC’s final 2013 Kenya program. A short mutatu ride from Eldoret found us at our new site, where we were warmly welcomed by Gichuki and Ojillo, the coordinators of the Trans-Nzoia Youth Sports Association. From the beginning the coordinators were on top of their game. “Africa time” doesn’t seem to exist in Kitale, as our trainings started every morning at 9:00 AM sharp, with coaches showing up as early as 8 AM. Some coaches came from outlying rural areas and journeyed over miles of unpaved roads each morning, and we were so impressed with their dedication to learning about football for social impact.

    IMG_3838When you’re working in rural Western Kenya, farm animals come with the territory. We shared the field every day with 6 cows– 4 adults and 2 babies– that lived on the school grounds. There are definite advantages to having resident cows on your soccer field, namely in the form of free lawn mowing and fertilizing services. However, there were also a couple of challenges. The classroom where we worked with the coaches was right next to the field, and didn’t have the sturdiest door. We arrived to the classroom one morning to find that the cows had spent the night inside, leaving us some “presents” on the floor. A few days later, we watched from the field as someone chased a cow out of our classroom. The cow, who was munching on the flip chart we use to write up our games, seemed unperturbed. One cow also seemed to very much enjoy knocking over cones that Coach Kefhira had just set up. Overall though, our bovine friends were a great source of entertainment throughout the week.

    IMG_3910When we weren’t working with the cows and coaches in the mornings, we were traveling to local schools to run sessions with the kids and their coaches. We had several rainy afternoons on slippery clay fields, and even though their feet and the balls were caked with mud, the kids had a great time. Coach AJ did not prove to be as agile as the children, as she took quite a fall while trying to demonstrate Marta for Conflict Resolution in flats on the wet clay. On Wednesday we traveled to a very rural school on the Ugandan border, and caused quite a stir when we emerged from the van, as many of the kids had never seen a mzungu before. We worked with about 200 kids at once, and made one of the biggest circle of friends CAC has ever seen. On our final day at the schools, Coach Oti facilitated while the TYSA coaches led the session, and did a fantastic job implementing the games they had learned throughout the week. Meanwhile, AJ and Kefhira got awesome new hairdos from the kids, free of charge. And just when we thought our week with TYSA couldn’t get any better, one of the coaches presented us with a farewell gift in the form of a live chicken. She was delicious.

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  • Kickin it with Sadili in Kibera, Kenya

    DSC00733July 30th 2013. An 11 hour bus from Marsabit found us back in a slum of the Kenyan capitol. Kibera is one of the largest poverty stricken areas of Nairobi and we could not have been more warmly welcomed.  Sadili  (our host organization) was founded by Dr. Liz Odera over 20 years ago, and today serves as a school and sporting program giving local kids from Kibera the chance to play and learn.  Not only does Sadili provide a gym, tennis courts, basketball courts, grass field, and classrooms for their kids, but nearly everything from the courts to the walls were made of recycled material.  These walls, made of condensed milk cartons, provide a location for the kids to learn, to excel in sports, and to give back.  Liz sets a standard for the rest of the organization and expects all the kids to give back to their community. Given the emphasis on sustainability an giving back to the community, we don’t see how an organization could use its resources more efficiently.
    Mornings had us working with some of the local coaches and the Sadili boys team (the captain of said team broke 1,800 juggles but was forced to stop due to a jokingly jealous teammate chasing him around the field).  Because the field we trained at was situated next to the rest of the facilities, one of our coaches (Charlie) couldnt help but embarass himself on the basketball court during our break. However, he was able to redeem himself by beating a whole host of young rugby players with his superior frisbee skills. Charlie 1, ten-year-olds 0.
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    In the afternoons we worked with Girl Power, an organization started by Liz to provide a safe space for girls to meet, talk, and learn. We showed the Girl Power educators and GOAL champions how to use the on-field part of the GOAL curriculum to emphasize what the girls were already doing in the classroom. On Thursday, coaches AJ, Charlie, and Meg went with the Girl Power group further into Kibera to run a practice at Olympic High School.  Following the wide roads that are in the process of being built, we climbed down the steep hillside and through the narrow trash-filled streets of Kibera to Olympic.  The girls were wonderful, fun, and for a moment the subject of the rest of the entire school’s interest (seemed like all the boys and other classes were watching us play games).  We had a great time teaching them HIV and GOAL games, discussing powerful female role models. We hope that Girl Power continues to use our games to teach girls throughout Kibera. Overall, we had a great week with Sadili Oval and are looking forward to continuing the partnership in the future.
    Check out the Sadili blog showing their view on working with CAC here.
  • Meet the Coaches Working in Kenya!

    Coach Charlie in his first week in Namibia

    Coach Charlie in his first week in Namibia

    July 1, 2013.  Coaches Across Continents is returning to Kenya today for the fifth consecutive year. In total we will be working with six programs over the next six weeks, three of which are returning partners (VAP, HODI, and LCFL) and three of which are first-time partners (Sadili Oval, KESOFO, and TYSA).  Please check out our Calendar page to view the dates for each program from July 1st – August 12th.

    The team that is working in Kenya is a talented one, headed by CAC staff members Brian Suskiewicz and AJ Millet and joined by three-week veteran Charlie Crawford (who you met in Namibia), Megan Kim and Kefhira Pintos.  Since we already know about Brian, AJ, and Charlie – let’s find out about Megan and Kefhira!

    Megan is an undergraduate at Amherst College in Amherst (MA), USA where she plays forward on the women’s soccer team.  A native of Newport Beach, CA (USA) she is thinking about majoring in psychology.  Here are five fun football facts with Megan!

    1. Favorite Team– US Women’s Soccer Team

    2. Favorite Player– Abby Wambach

    3. Favorite Coach– Undecided (?)

    4. Favorite Movie– The  Help
    5. World Cup in 2014 and 2015? Spain (2014) and USA (2015).

    kefhiraKefhira is a rising senior at Harvard University in Cambridge (MA), USA.  She is studying social studies, romance languages, and literature.  Kefhira is taking this opportunity this summer to study sport for development organizations.  When she is finished she will be writing her senior thesis on the topic.  Here are five fun football facts with Kefhira!

    Favorite Team(s): FC Barcelona, Argentinian National Team
    Favorite Players: Leo Messi (no surprise there), Maxi Rodriguez, & Carlos Tevez
    Favorite Coach: Not Maradona!!!!
    Favorite Movie: Anything with comedy and action
    World Cup 2014 and 2015: Argentina (here’s to hoping!) and USA (2015)
    Why I am looking forward to working with CAC? Dedicating my senior thesis to sport-for-development organizations, I look forward to bridging the gap between all the research and journal articles and what actually happens in the soccer field- the ups, the downs, the dirt, the friendships, and the lessons.