• Kuku Dance in Dodoma

    CAC volunteer CJ Fritz discusses his first week in Tanzania with Dodoma Stars.

    November 11th 2015. After having a week off to travel half way across the globe, Nora, Ruben and I reunited once again in Tanzania. Our six-week excursion through Tanzania began last week in the capitol city of Dodoma.

    The participants went crazy for Hands Against HIV – a sexual health game where players form a circle around one participant and attempt to “infect” him/her with HIV/AIDS by striking them below the knees with a ball. On multiple occasions while playing, they seemed like kids again, begging to play for just a few more minutes. The message of the game sunk in well and they had a great time playing it.

    Nothing, though, brought more smiles from the group than the Kuku Dance – a variation on the Chicken Dance – that Nora made popular during her last coaching stint in Africa. The group adopted it as their go-to celebration throughout the week.

    From start to finish our group of about 40 participants were challenged by the idea of letting children make too many decisions. From a very young age, children in the Tanzanian school system are not given the option to decide many things for themselves and, as products of that system it was logical that they didn’t seem to think that it was much of an issue. It took some time, but by the end of the week they began to come around about the topic; hopefully they will continue to work toward employing self-directed learning for their students and players.

    We had twenty hours with participants throughout the week and spent three afternoons at local elementary schools where participants took turns coaching CAC games from our sessions. The kids had a blast and the participants absolutely loved putting their newfound knowledge to use.

    We had to cancel one afternoon session at a school since it was the day of the inauguration of Tanzania’s new President Magufuli. Although it was a national holiday, the participants still came to our session. In the week leading up to the inauguration, people were in high spirits about their newest leader. Major roads were decorated with Magufuli posters and CCM – Magufuli’s political party – flags. Not only were the roads decorated, but just about every third person served as a walking Magufuli advertisement. So, on Thursday afternoon, eyes turned from the pitch to the television.

    It was an absolute delight to begin our time in Tanzania with this group from Dodoma. They were some of the happiest, most positive people who I have ever had the pleasure to meet. They greeted us every morning with huge smiles and met every new game and challenge with positivity and enthusiasm. Their great attitude as a group made the week a smooth and enjoyable success.

    IMG_0646

     

  • Leaving a Trail with CAC

    December 20, 2014. Coach Kelly Conheeney writes about her final week On-Field in 2014 with teachers from Dodoma, Tanzania. 

    4 months and a couple of weeks ago, I was flying over the Pacific Ocean on a 36-hour journey to Southeast Asia. I picked up my journal and began to write. “and so I’m off”, dated July 31, 2014. It took me several minutes of staring blankly at the title before I could get a single word down on the page. I couldn’t think of where to begin, so I started flipping through the pages of my travel journal and reading the quotes that were printed on the top of each page. I came across one that really stuck with me. “Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I left the page blank. This surely is not the usual path one takes after graduating college. But this is the path I have chosen for myself, and it is changing my life. Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa and Tanzania; slowly making my way around the world. I have reached the beginning of an end; the last program of my volunteering experience for the year, and in January I will begin working with CAC as a full time staff member. My last destination on this long journey, across 3 different continents and 5 different countries, to cities I have never before heard, and would certainly not have encountered in my lifetime if not for this endeavor. Last stop: Dodoma, Tanzania.

    Chaos like I have never seen it before. 80 children flooded the schoolyard celebrating the event of new coaches that were about to play football with them. Screams of joy and screams just to scream because everyone else was doing it. As soon as we stepped near the field, the children flocked towards Markus, Nico, Frederick and I. They latched onto us and started asking us questions in perfect English. The school was an international school where English was a predominant language. It was nice to understand the children and to be understood, rather than the usual conversations I have with kids in the couple of words I know in Swahili. Before the session began we got the children together and introduced ourselves. I also felt it was necessary to show off my new favorite dance move I learned in Tanzania they call the “Kaduku”. I called it the “koo-koo dance” inspired by Nora, a CAC staff member who introduced me to the dance move back in Cambodia a couple of months ago. They quickly caught on. After a short “koo-koo dance off” we split the group up into two, and took the field for a solid hour; teaching them Ronaldo Skills and ending with a game of “Mingle Mingle”. It was a difficult session to coach because the children weren’t very disciplined, but the one thing that never changed throughout the session was the smiles on their faces. It was the first school we coached at in Tanzania where I felt like the kids were free to be kids. It was a refreshing session to be a part of; even when the kids were difficult to tolerate I had to look around and appreciate the safe space the teachers created for the children to learn and express their energy and enthusiasm to play.

    Every afternoon we went back to the international school and were welcomed by beaming smiles and koo-koo dances performed by all. Prior to the afternoon session with the kids, we held a clinic for our coaches every morning from 8 to 11. The value of working with the children in the afternoon is that the coaches we train have the opportunity to coach the games they learned in the morning to the children they work with in the afternoon. It is also a chance for us to give the coaches feedback on the areas where they excelled and areas that need improvement. Since we faced some difficulties with numbers in the session we held the day before, we found that splitting up the children from their classmates was the most efficient way to train. Each coach set up an area in the schoolyard to coach a CAC game they learned earlier that day. The kids rotated every 20 minutes to a new group, which gave every teacher a chance to coach the game three times. It was fulfilling to watch the coaches adapt their games, create their own games and integrate their own creativity into each session as the week progressed. By the last afternoon session of the week the coaches were punctual, prepared at their stations and extremely encouraging towards the children. This week we worked with a wonderful group of teachers. The day before the end of our program, one of the women came up to me and asked if CAC could stay and train in Dodoma for the whole month. She said that on Tuesday morning she woke up with a sore body after our long day of training on Monday, and questioned how she would make it through the week, but by Thursday she had felt better than ever. She raved to me about how she has proved to herself through our training that she is capable of being a strong healthy woman. A realization she came to through the week of training with Coaches Across Continents.

    I am flying over the Atlantic, back to my home in New Jersey right now, a very different person than I was when I embarked on this journey. I flip back to the page in my journal that I left blank on July 31, 2014 and I begin to write under the quote written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 4 months and a couple of weeks ago I did not know what kind of trail I would leave, or what paths I would go down that would alter my worldview. But today I can’t stop writing. Whether my trail in Dodoma was left through the koo-koo dance, or the games we played that inspired women to believe in their ability to lead a healthy, active lifestyle, I think this is my mission in the world. Something I aspire to do everyday on this job, leave a trail. 2015 brings new countries, new cultures, new challenges, new experiences, and new communities to impact through the beautiful game!

    IMG_1750

    IMG_1776

  • Goals 1,2 and 3: ‘On Field’ Programs begin in Tanzania in April 2011.

    February 14th, 2011.  Coaches Colin, Jessica and Nathan head to Tanzania on April 14th to start our 2011 ‘On Field’ programs.

    Coaches across Continents have selected 3 communities in Tanzania for sport for development work 2011.  In Kigoma, Colin and Jessica will develop the new SportCourt facility and run leagues, tournaments and coaching sessions on this amazing facility donated to Coaches across Continents by SportCourt and their partner, Beyond Sport. 

    The second year of our Hat-trick Initiative will be run in Geita and build on the work of Tracy and Brian from 2010 in a community that has committed to use sport for social development.

    And finally, Coaches across Continents have chosen the Chamwino District to start a new Hat-Trick Initiative to build on the work of Nicolaus Achimpota in his new role in this community.  Nico was the first coach in Tanzania to use sport for development in his role in Kigoma from 2008-2010 and we are delighted to support his new community.

    It will be a fun and challenging time for Colin, Jessica and Nathan traveling and working in Tanzania in communities with unique social challenges.

  • Coaches across Continents announces 2011 Community Partner Hat-Trick Initiative schedule

    January 25th, 2011.  Coaches across Continents has announced their schedule for 2011 which includes programs in 13 countries.

    “The demand for our program continues to grow and our Business and Coach Advisory Board looked at partnership request applications from more than 50 communities in 26 new countries.  We met at the NSCAA Baltimore event to discuss our 2011 schedule and we are excited about working with all our 2011 partners.”  Tim Wheaton, Coach Advisory Board

    Coaches across Continents will run programs in Botswana, Ghana, India, Israel, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, USA, Zambia and one other country to be chosen by a Hat-Trick partner.

    * partnership request applications are still under consideration from Brasil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Holland, Liberia, Nigeria, Panama, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.