• Trickle Out Effect in Bhaktapur

    December 14th 2016. CAC Global Citizen Dylan Pritchard discussed the CAC approach in Bhaktapur, Nepal during our partnership with Childreach Nepal.

    This week, Mark, Tejas, and I were in Bhaktapur, Nepal, which is a city outside of Kathmandu, working with Childreach Nepal. This week was different than any other week because we worked with a majority of children. The way Coaches Across Continents works is that they will mostly work with coaches of the community instead of children, in order to make sure that the games and concepts they teach will last past the time they are gone and until the next time they visit. The way Mark puts it is that Coaches Across Continents partners with organizations all over the world that coincide with their message, which is to teach social impact through Self-Directed Learning in order to better their surrounding community. It is supposed to be a partnership that will last long past CAC is gone rather than an organization from the West coming in and imposing their dominance and insisting that their way of doing things is better than theirs year after year. With this type of approach, it gives the organization that CAC partners with a platform to customize their own curriculum that caters to the needs of their community instead of teaching a cookie cutter curriculum that has the idea that “one size fits all.” That is why I have enjoyed my trip with CAC thus far because they want to better the core of the community and have it trickle out to everyone else instead of imposing the idea that “West knows best”.

    Although we worked with mostly children this week, we did feel that we made a change for the better. The way that Childreach Nepal wants to set up their system at their school in Bhaktapur is to have eight senior students be taught our coaching style in order to teach all of the younger children of the school. So this camp was composed of those eight senior students and about thirty children between the ages of ten and thirteen. Although the trainings were more for the seniors, we still had to coach children. I have done a little bit of coaching children before but man did I forget the patience you need to do it! Nonetheless, we calmed the kids down a little bit by the end of the week and they had some fun playing the games. The most important part is that we broke the senior students out of their shells and paved the way for them to become leaders in their community by teaching them to coach football for social impact through Self-Directed Learning. On top of all that, I felt that I got a little bit better with integrating the Self-Directed Learning of social issues while keeping it fun in my coaching. We also played a lot of fun Nepali cultural games such as kabaddi, which is a like a more intense tag game, and chungi, which is a rubber band version of a hacky sack. This all added up to an awesome time with the kids.

    This week was an interesting week to say the least. I have been nursing a rolled ankle, which I did last week in Gothatar by stepping in a hole in the field, and on Wednesday I was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy. If you have never heard of it, it is a really weird virus that attacks the nerve that controls one side of your face and causes temporary paralysis to that side of your face. Basically, only one side of my face is working right now. I cannot fully blink with my left eye and when I smile, the left side of my mouth says, “Nope, not today.” Although it sounds serious, and I am not taking it lightly, it is more common than people think and it is only very temporary. It is only in my face and nothing else has been affected. Thanks to some family connections and the understanding of CAC, I have been given the necessary medical help I need to complete my trip because there is no way I am leaving early.

    Despite having Bell’s palsy, I still had an amazing week in Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is a very interesting city because it is a World Heritage Site, which means that the cities architecture cannot be altered in any way. Because the city still keeps its bagoda look, it gives the feeling that the culture of the people has not changed whatsoever. We saw everything from an animal sacrifice to the famous Five Story Temple, and in between that we played da cau, a hacky sack version of a badminton birdie, in Durbar Square where my idol David Beckham once played soccer with a bunch of school kids. The food was amazing and I was introduced to “chat.” Now my life or death Nepali vocabulary consists of momo’s, dal, bhat, chat, dhanyabad (thank you), and Namaste. Between coaching, Bell’s palsy, and sight seeing, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Bhaktapur and thank CAC for the opportunity to come here.

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  • Hot, Humid and Happy

    September 10th 2015. CAC’s newest volunteer CJ Fritz writes about his first week in Indonesia with Uni Papua.

    Landak, West Kalimantan was the setting of our first week of coaching in Indonesia. A two-hour flight and four-hour drive saw us arrive in Landak on Sunday evening ready and raring to go. That night, I was introduced to the idea of a bucket shower. On only my second night abroad, this foreign concept was quite a shock to my system. But, we played the cards we were dealt.

    Every morning during the week we spent two hours with energy-filled primary school students who were convinced that we were famous. The David Beckham Effect from the children continued throughout the week among kids, coaches and practically everyone else who came across us. I signed I-don’t-know-how-many notebooks, t-shirts, and took so many photos with strangers that for a moment I thought I really was David Beckham.

    I was very impressed with the level of excitement among the 60-some coaches with whom we worked. The children had equal – if not greater – zeal, but that is to be expected from children. The coaches started every session in high spirits and rarely experienced a dip in energy.

    Both the children and coaches were quick to learn the games; Mingle Mingle – a dancing game that requires participants to create groups of varying sizes on-command – was a universal favorite. The coaches particularly enjoyed Adebayor Hands Against HIV, which involves participants in a small circle around one person.  The ball represents HIV, and the person in the middle tries to avoid being “infected” with HIV as those on the outside try to hit them below the knee with the ball. Then, once they grasp how easily they can be “infected,” means of protection are introduced in the form of other participants entering the circle to try to block the ball. These forms of protection represented things like condoms or a one faithful partner.

    The coaches were all very respectful, positive and willing to work. By the end of the week we had created a bond with the coaches who seemed appreciative and content with the week’s work. I was asked by multiple coaches for my contact information in order to keep in touch and to communicate about more games that they can teach their players. These exchanges left me with an accomplished feeling about the work we did in Landak and the memories we created with the coaches.

    It was difficult to form a connection with any of the children since we had a different group of kids every morning, with each group consisting of 60 to 90 young players. Although we couldn’t connect with them easily, it was probably for the best, as we got to coach more than 400 players over the course of the week.

    I was disappointed with how few female coaches there were – only two of 60 – but not surprised based on what we saw during the morning sessions. Teachers would bring groups of boys and girls to the field and wanted to have the girls sit out and watch the boys have all the fun, but with a little bit of persuasion soon the students were all happily involved. Seeing the girls laughing, smiling and enjoying the session gave me hope that Landak can create a community that supports women on and off the pitch.

    There was a particularly special moment during the afternoon session on Tuesday while we were covering gender equity and female empowerment with the coaches. One of the two female coaches who was in attendance spoke up about how adults discourage girls from playing football and sports in general, and that we as coaches and members of the community need to work to change that trend. Her comment got a hugely positive reaction from the rest of the coaches and made me believe that we witnessed a bit of change that day.

    The intense humidity was not enough to dampen the collective spirit of the participants, and by Friday night, a bucket shower was a gift that I gratefully accepted.

    We left Landak somewhat sweaty, slightly stinky and supremely satisfied.

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