• 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.



  • The Kuku Dance Returns

    April 30th. SDL Coach, Nora Dooley, shares her thoughts upon her return to the field in Indonesia.
    There is a very good reason we only work with leaders. I’ll give you a hint: what happens if we work with children and then leave at the end of the week? Every once in a while, however, we have a session or two with the beneficiaries of our partner programs, and we are faced with the task of doing what we ask educators all over the world to do on a consistent basis: simultaneously teach children about football and life, while having as much fun as humanly possible.

    After two months on the Off-Field grind, I was back in action in Sentul, Indonesia – a small city outside of Jakarta. I ran a two-day training for our partners at Uni Papua, who are exploring the option of expanding their CAC partnership at a school in Sentul, where children from Papua study far from home.

    This program launched me back into the CAC rhythm, asking me to rise to the aforementioned challenge. I had to show these kids what CAC is all about. Still remembering my sato, dua, tigas (1,2,3s…) from my time in Indonesia two years prior, the rust fell off with ease and a couple of boomshakalakas.

    I could not have asked for a better way to re-engage with our amazing curriculum than doing so with a group of children that spend their days in search of their next chance to laugh. And whether with me or at me (most likely the latter), I’m happy as long as we’re laughing.

    At this point many have heard of the famous ‘Kuku Dance’ – coined in Kenya in 2014, and carried with our Self-Directed Learning coaches far and wide. To simply say I was excited to get my ‘Kuku’ on would vastly understate my love for this dance – and the smiles it brings in amazingly diverse cultural contexts. At no point were these children laughing harder (at me) than when they learned the now legendary dance during the first of many ‘Mingle Mingles’.

    Two days of games centered on teaching life skills, conflict resolution, and female empowerment, fully saturated with giggles and mingles and kukus, made for the perfect welcome back to coaching. Hopefully next time we run a program in Sentul, we will focus more on sustainability, but for now, fun was the objective, and that objective was achieved.

    And as I walked off the school ground after saying goodbye to my new, young, Indonesian friends, shouts of “kuku dance, kuku dance, kuku dance” put a final, contented smile on my silly face. Terima kasih Uni Papua.