• Kindness

    September 23rd 2016. Alicia Calcagni blogs from Sentani and Jayapura in Indonesia with Uni Papau FC.
    Mark and I have spent the last 2 weeks in Sentani and Jayapura with a Uni Papua crew, and they significantly enhanced our experience. To start, the coordinator of the Jayapura program, Yanti, opened her house to us. Then in Jayapura, we had the help of Marthin, Natalia, Yan, and Ken. All of them can speak a little English, so collectively they were able to help us clearly convey all of the games and social messages. Without them, it really would not have been possible. Off the field, they took us to all their favorite spots likthe coffee shop, the place they always go for dinner, and the hill on Sentani lake. They made the programs run smoothly and made sure we had a great time off of the field. One act of kindness that I will never forget was when I was sick in bed with a cold. I was too sick to coach one day, so I stayed back at the hotel drinking tea. I was reading and I heard a knock on the door then a familiar voice ring, “Aliciaaa.” I opened the door to Yanti! She made the hour drive from her home in Sentani to our hotel in Jayapura just to check on me! I do not speak Bahasa and she does not speak English, so we communicate via Google translate. She typed, “I miss you very much and heard you are not healthy, so I want to see you.” Then, she offered to get dinner with me, and when I said no she gave me a dragonfruit. If she wasn’t nice enough already she added that she would stay the night at the hotel to take care of me!!! She did not say one word and she exuded so much kindness, compassion, and love. Everyone we meet we can only communicate a little bit, but it is just enough to convey social messages on and off of the field.
    img_2717
  • Help A Community In Need This Christmas

    December 12th 2015. This holiday season Coaches Across Continents is asking you to help youth in at-risk disadvantaged communities all over the world. Throughout December we have been counting down (or up) CAC’s 12 communities of Christmas which you can directly support by making a donation on Firstgiving. Your donations are incredibly important to ensure that children in these communities continue to get the opportunity to learn about vital social messages and have the ability to take ownership of their own choices.

    Sentani, Indonesia, was the 7th CAC community of Christmas. Indonesia has many underserved populations living in remote regions where few international groups offer assistance. Make a donation on this Firstgiving page to directly assist these populations through our work.

    Kathmandu, Nepal was the 1st CAC community of Christmas. Support Kathmandu on this page.

    Diadema, Brazil was the 2nd CAC community of Christmas. Support Diadema on this page.

    Shkoder, Albania was the 3rd CAC community of Christmas. Support Shkoder on this page.

    Leogane, Haiti was the 4th CAC community of Christmas. Support Leogane on this page.

    Nagpur, India was the 5th CAC community of Christmas. Support Nagpur on this page.

    Stellenbosch, South Africa was the 6th CAC community of Christmas. Support Stellenbosch on this page.

    Zanzibar, Tanzania was the 8th CAC community of Christmas. Support Zanzibar on this page.

    Lubumbashi, DRC is the 9th CAC community of Christmas. Support Lubumbashi on this page.

    Keep watching our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates on CAC’s 12 communities of Christmas this holiday season. Don’t forget as we approach the end of the US tax year that, as a registered non-profit, your donation to Coaches Across Continents is tax-deductible. Our EIN number is 32-0249174.

    Stellenbosch, South Africa

  • When Life Gives you Beetle Nut…Spit It Out

    CAC Self-Directed Learning coach Turner Humphries blogs from Sentani, Indonesia about another great week with Uni Papua.

    September 25th 2015. Walking around the town of Sentani everyone seemed to be wearing lipstick. Both young and old, men and women, skinny and fat. Each with the same glistening blood red lips. I began looking closer to ensure my eyes were not playing tricks on me. Not only were everyone’s lips red, they were also chewing on what could only have been the most industrious of chewing gum. Investigating further I noticed that their spit had also turned a vibrant red. Could this chewing gum be making their mouths bleed, I wondered? Alas, I gave up my Sherlock Holmes like quest for the solution to this red mouthed quagmire and asked Yan, who would be our translator for the week, just what was going on. “Lipstick!? Ah, that’s beetle nut,” he proclaimed, silently thinking I was the weirdest person he ever met. Beetle nut is an extremely popular snack that after the first crunch of your teeth leaves your mouth a color of red that can be seen from space. Between all my questions for Yan about this mysterious nut he managed to acquire a few for my enjoyment. After he demonstrated the proper chewing technique, I popped a beetle nut into my gullet and began chomping. Immediately my mouth became very dry. My head starting spinning. Stars were coming into view. And after trying to remain strong I, ultimately had to spit it out to a roar of laughter from the crowd that had gathered to watch my inaugural beetle nut experience. I must admit I expected something much more enjoyable. Following a few swigs of lukewarm water I was back to my normal self. Now it was Charlie’s turn.

    Driving to the field for the first time we turned into a complex that certainly was no stranger to a bit of camouflage paint, there was lots of exercise equipment, many sport utility vehicles abound and many serious looking men. We were on a military base and our field was adjacent to the shooting range. After going through Circle of Friends we chatted briefly about how the football field should always be a safe place, where players should feel comfortable to express themselves. While this was happening a platoon of soldiers had readied themselves, aimed and began firing off rounds from their M-16’s like they were reenacting the final act of Scarface. However it quickly became background noise drowned out by the sounds of the laughter from our game Mingle Mingle; quickly becoming a fan favorite amongst the Sentani participants.

    Before beginning the coaching program in the afternoon Charlie and I would visit a local school in the morning to conduct a brief coaching clinic for the students. After going through some of our games it was time to say farewell to the young Sentanians. Before we took a step off the field the children had raced to their backpacks to retrieve markers. We could not figure out what was happening. They all raced back to us, with marker in hand. They wanted autographs. Suddenly we were swarmed by a mob of Coaches Across Continents fanatics all in dire need of our signatures. Our best efforts to convey that we were not in fact professional players were in vain. They must have heard about my extremely average Eckerd College soccer career. I can only hope my signature will eventually wash off of their school uniforms.

    DSC_0012

  • Working with the Army in Papua

    29th September 2014. General Eduard greets us at the field at the Kodam XVII jayapura army base overlooking the serene landscape of Cenderiwasih Bay. Down below the stadium seats, a training drill field holds army men, civilian coaches, a marching band and 2 local football youth teams that are suited up and ready to play a short game of futbol following the ceremony. We are treated to cake and pastries, a common Papuan snack during and after training sessions, and we are accompanied by several army chiefs. After joining the men on the field for the opening ceremony, Cenderawasih, a club team coached by some of the coaches we will be working with, played against another local club team.

    This year was CAC’s first time holding a clinic at the Jayapura army base. Thirty nine participants attended; a mix of army and civilians. I was curious to see how they would respond to the self-directed learning approach to coaching as it is a different way of learning than they are accustomed to in their structured lives. The coaches adapted well and were quick to take in information and respond. Although the clinic only ran for 3 days, we were impressed to see their willingness to run the morning school sessions on their own by the third day. I am confident that the coaches have learned enough of the curriculum to start implementing change where they see fit in their communities.

    An area of focus for us in Papua has been smoking and the high rates of HIV/AIDS. Chain smoking in Papua is very common, especially in the military. The smell of burning plastic and cigarette smoke is almost impossible to escape here. One thing I have particularly noticed while traveling through Indonesia is how uninformed people are when it comes to their health. One man told me he smokes to concentrate better, another told me he smokes so he doesn’t fall asleep when driving. Although uninformed about the actual effects of smoking, it is still clear on every cigarette package that smoking kills. Our discussions about smoking always seem to end with Brian and I encouraging them to be good role models by never smoking in front of their players. The message seemed to reach them as many applauded at the end of several discussions. The Adebayor against HIV/AIDS games raised many questions as well. Many of the coaches were parents as well as coaches, which explained why there were a lot of concerns. Our Adebayor games were created to demonstrate how healthy educated decisions can stop the spread of HIV. After a question and answer filled Adebayor session, I am confident that the majority of these coaches will use our Adebayor and health and wellness games with their teams. Since talking about HIV is stigmatized, playing these games are a great way to start the discussion and create a safe space to talk about it.

    The Conflict Resolution games seemed to have a great impact on this group as well. Mingle Mingle and Marta for Conflict Resolution are both energy filled games that they all loved. Both games require quick thinking and problem solving, with incentive not to lose. Marta for Conflict Resolution is a game where 6 teams line up facing each other in a circle. Each player on the team has a different number from 1-6. When your number is called, you run around the front cone, continue around your team and around the circle until you reach your starting position. There are several variations where you can add a ball, call out two numbers at the same time, and give instruction to pick up the ball at the same time. A lot of cheating arises in the game which calls for teachable moments. Coaches learn the significance of teaching their players the difference between cheating and making a mistake and they also learn that in order to solve problems in life, we must communicate and work together.

    It was great to see collaboration between the army, Uni Papua and the local communities. Huge steps can be taken before CAC comes back to Jayapura next year if the army coaches implement the 24 week curriculum into their practice plans and push their players to think independently and solve their own problems. The future of Jayapura looks promising as the coaches have already started to understand self-directed learning after three practice sessions with us and were determined to show us what they learned at the sessions at the schools every morning.

    As I continue to learn about the Papuan culture my appreciation for the people of this country grows. Uni Papua have been so generous and absolutely lovely to work with. Yanti and Kalin in Sentani treated us like family during our 10 short days working with them, and after sharing our last meal with Eduard’s family the night before our departure from Jayapura, we were taken to a karaoke bar. Brian and I sang “Ironic” by Alanis Morisette which was a highlight of my night; but a close second was the the dan-dout traditional Papuan dance performed by Eduard’s wife and daughter.

    Although we only had three days in Jayapura, our work on the field was extremely productive. We worked with a group of bright individuals who are great role models for Papua and I believe they will have a strong influence on Papuas future leaders.
    10408635_707659129316836_2218326073457491444_n