• When Inspiration Strikes…

    You never know when or where inspiration is going to strike.  I  am at the halfway point of my time abroad having been away from my home in Hawaii for four months, most of this time volunteering for Coaches Across Continents.  I have covered thousands of kilometers in Africa and have seen three very different countries in South Africa, Malawi, and Tanzania. It is easy to become jaded on a trip of this magnitude and I was looking forward to a small break for the remainder of September when I will partake in a safari, hopefully see Mt Kilamanjaro, and possibly lay of the tranquil beaches of Zanzibar.
    But just when I started feeling a little fatigued and started to look ahead at personal pleasures inspiration struck.  Mine hit me with a one-two combination  First I looked up at the breakfast table in Kigoma and saw these words written on a poster, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.”  These words have festered in my head the past week and I have spent many hours pondering whether either my deeds here in Africa or my blogs might become immortal.  Either way I hope that once I leave Tanzania that Coaches Across Continents will be remembered favorably.
    After three years in Kigoma the impact CAC has had is evident. Sports Director Nico Achimpota is the engine that drives the sports machine there.  He coaches children, motivates and organizes coaches, and works tirelessly for the betterment of the community. Largely because of his efforts Kigoma was awarded a sports court that is set to be installed at the Katabuka school site in one month’s time.  This new court will allow children to play soccer, netball, and volleyball on a safe, all-weather surface.  This is critical because of the sand and dust that accumulates during the dry season and the rains that inundate the area during the wet.  My work with CAC in Kigoma seems negligible when compared to the groundwork laid in previous years and the year-round effort made by Nico.  However it was very satisfying to work there for a week, to continue training coaches and players (both new and old) and to see the clear impact a dedicated individual (Nico) and support group (CAC) can achieve in three short years.
    The second bolt of inspiration hit during my three days in Geita. Tracy and I were asked to come here by Nico and by the Geita District.  We were not in the best mood when we arrived due to the nature of the travel between the two towns (click HERE for our travel adventure).  But after three days of working here in Geita I feel completely rejuvenated and energized.
    Geita is a gold-mining town that is genuinely excited and anxious to build something special.  In three short days we worked with 100+ kids every morning and approximately 50 coaches each morning and evening.  They soaked up instruction, participated in drills, and returned the next day with smiles on their faces.  We had to allot an extra 1/2 hour at the end of each session specifically for photos, email exchanges, playing with children, and goodbyes – even though we would see these people again in less that a day’s time.  We were met and greeted by the Executive Director of Geita (essentially the governor of the area), the assistant Director, the Cultural Officer, the Sports Director, and about a dozen teachers/coaches made a point to drop by our hotel during our down-time to say hello.  In short – it is clear that the leadership, coaches, and children of Geita are hungry to advance sport and are starved for guidance.  I have confidence that they will succeed in developing strong sports programs in the near future because of their personal commitment and that a group like CAC can provide guidance over the next few years.
    It is because of the one-two punch of inspiration that I leave Geita feeling invigorated and ready to continue my CAC volunteering in Zambia in October and November.  I know I am still four months away from my home beaches and surf breaks in Hawaii but the waves will be there when I return.  Besides – I have my immortality to think about as I try to write blogs worth reading and do things worth writing about.