CAC volunteer CJ Fritz discusses the teams work in Soe, Indonesia with Uni Papua recently.
September 24th 2015. Late on Saturday the 12th we arrived into Soe on the island of Timor after a two-hour winding drive up a mountainside and joined the Uni Papua Soe team for dinner.
We only spent four days coaching in Soe, but it felt like we were at home. The Uni Papua team and coaches alike welcomed us with open arms and made our time in Soe very pleasant. We were treated to fantastic home-cooked meals throughout the week, and even Markus and Spring – who have the appetite of chipmunks – couldn’t help devouring multiple servings.
Training sessions with coaches began on Sunday on a field that serves as the center of the town. Enthusiasm levels were high among coaches who greeted every new game with the same excitement as they treated the first.
One game in which their energy level reached new heights was Ronaldo for Health and Wellness, a game in which a coach leading the game shouts out numbers between zero and four, and the participants have to jump to a certain location designated to that number. One coach in particular was so enthusiastic that we asked him to lead the game. When he got his chance to shine he started screaming unintelligibly instead of yelling the numbers as instructed. That performance set the tone for the rest of the sessions. All of the coaches were greatly involved and intrigued, and some of them even attended our morning sessions at the local schools unsolicited.
Soe was very different to both Salatiga and Landak, so going into our first morning session with school children we hoped that our celebrity treatment would have been left behind on Borneo and Java respectively. But oh, how wrong we were.
On Monday morning we visited a junior high school for an hour and a half session. When we arrived we were paraded through a sea of students onto a platform and were presented as rock stars. Then we were informed that we would be coaching all 700 students at the school. Believe it or not, coaching 700 kids was easier than what transpired after the session.
After cycling the students through in three more manageable groups, we were then attacked with pens and paper as well as school uniforms, faces and arms to be signed. After navigating the gauntlet of autograph requests we were rushed into a small office for a moment of respite.
All of the students that we visited at the three different schools were big fans of Mingle Mingle – a dancing game where participants form groups of different sizes as directed – and the “boom-shakalaka” exercise in Circle of Friends – an exercise where a participant enters a circle of participants, and then hits their hip against the hip of another participant on the outside of the circle and they yell “boom-shakalaka” in unison – was a huge hit with coaches and students. Even the two hundred high schoolers who we coached on our final morning were as excited to play as the primary schoolers. It was great to see that they were really interested in playing, and weren’t under the impression that they were too cool for the games.
Throughout the week we covered a variety of the CAC curriculum such as Soccer for Conflict Resolution, Female Empowerment, and Health and Wellness as well as Child Rights. In only four days of coaching, we couldn’t possibly cover everything that we wanted to cover, but the coaches´ eagerness indicated that they will learn quickly in years to come, and Soe will become a haven for progressive thinking.
Soe was our last location in Indonesia, but we left the country having seen enormous growth in three very different communities. Sampai jumpa, Indonesia; until next time.