By Louisa Niedermann
The days are getting colder and colder, however I never thought that I would be cold in Africa. Normally the sun is shinning but today there were clouds in the sky.
With each day I am learning so many new ideas. I feel like the timing of this experience is really beneficial to me because I am entering my third field experience in the fall. I am learning how to put all these theories into practice which will help me be prepared for my upcoming stage in the fall.
I am taking in all the ideas everyone is coming up with and all the units we have created; however another one of my interests is sports and after school sports. I want to explore the ways in which the after school sports run here in Malawi. In order for me to do so I have to push myself and be willing to explore on my own.
I asked Francis if I could go see the after school sports at Chilanga elementary. After talking to the head master he said that the school had no balls to play with so they could not have after school sports. With excitement I screamed, “ I have some soccer balls!” Francis ran back to tell the headmaster. Tomorrow I will have my first experience with an after school sports program at Chilanga elementary.
Day 17: After school sports at Chilanga
As it got closer to the time I was going to leave to go for the after school program, I got really nervous. I did not know what to expect as I wasn’t sure how involved they wanted me to be. I collected 10 soccer balls in a bag and walked over to the school, just Francis and I.
The headmaster was so appreciative of what I was doing and how involved in his school I was getting. He explained that the school did not have a lot of resources for their after school sports program. As I talked with the principal, I saw a group of kids crowding outside of his office. I thought that those must be the students staying for the sports program. I got introduced to the lady who was going to help me lead the after school sports. As we walked towards the field the lady asked me “What kind of games are you going to play?” I had all sorts of activities and drills in my head for potential activities I could do with the students. As we tuned the corner I saw tons and tons of students outside. I thought maybe they were outside before going home. I thought wrong. All of the students were here for the after school program. I got all nervous and over whelmed. All the activities I had planned went right down the drain. I didn’t even know if I could play soccer with this many children. At one point the teacher even said to me “So what are you going to do?” I started to freak out. I said put the students in groups. It took a while to get the students organized and to finally start the games of soccer and one game of netball. Even though there were still too many students playing soccer, the game got under way and was somewhat organized. The teacher told me to blow the whistle as I had to get the students attention if the ball went out. I had brought my whistle not expecting to use it. I am guessing my role was the referee. Every time I blew the whistle I kind of laughed to myself as I had never used a whistle before to be in charge of this many students.
I talked to the teacher a bit, trying to get a sense of the program. I have come to realize that they didn’t really have a sports program implemented which could be because of the lack of resources. The teacher also explained that the students are hungry after school because they have not eaten lunch yet. After explaining this the teacher asked me “How long does this activity go for?” I realized that this activities was in my control and I got to choose what game to play and how long it lasted. I wanted the children to go home and eat their lunch so I ended the activity not long after. I think that overall the games of soccer went well even if they were a bit disorganized in the beginning.
This was an eye opening experience for me. I was not prepared for all of those students. It was amazing to see how into the games the students were and how they did not hold back even though they were not even wearing shoes. As I walked back exhausted from this experience, I asked Francis how many students he thought were at the activity and he said around 250-300 students. I am proud of myself for trying and for the activity having gone so well.