Pudulogo P.S. Plays Tough…PCV Proud as Ever!!

May 29, 2008 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

This past weekend we had a HUGE sporting event at our school (well at least ‘huge’ for us).  Another school traveled two to three hours to our rural school “in the middle of corn and sunflower fields” as the opposing team put it.  They had come all the way to challenge our boys in soccer and our girls in netball (a sport that is similar to basketball without the dribbling and the backboards).  It was a very exciting event for our students, teachers, and community.  It is the first time I have seen anything like this at our school since I have been here (almost 9 months now) and judging by everyone’s reaction, it hasn’t happened much before then either. 

Weeks prior to the event, students were busy practicing.  The boys could be found everyday after school out on the soccer field (a big semi-flat dirt surface with two twisted metal squares on each end of the field) and the girls on the netball court.  Unfortunately for the girls, the netball court had been over grown with patches of grass and weeds because the goats, sheep, donkeys, and cows couldn’t get access to it, unlike the soccer field.  As a result, the girls (and learners that received punishment for misbehavior during school) were put to the task of pulling grass and raking the surface level.  Just imagine American students having to sweep or polish the basketball court before playing or the football team having to mow the grass and paint the lines.  Hah!  American kids have it made!

After weeks of toil and labor the fields were in “playable” condition.  Unfortunately though, it is pretty hard to paint lines on a dirt field or court (especially when you don’t have paint).  So, the day before competition (during school hours of course) I was helping the teachers and learners to carve out the lines on the field according to regulation rules.  Then the learners mixed a liquid substance of lime and water and poured it into the trenches on the field to make the “lines”.  A clever idea.  Being resourceful.  When we finished, we were all pretty proud of our work.  It looked professional…compared to anything else we had ever seen in the area. 

Finally the day arrived and the learners were arriving at school earlier (on a Saturday) than when they normally do on weekdays for classes.  No surprise.  The kids were bouncing off the walls with excitement.  I was excited myself.  I love to see the kids get so happy, especially over something that they truly deserve, but are completely deprived of.  Coming from the United States I was lucky to have well organized sporting events, and lots of them, when I was a student.  I was able to explore a variety of sports and select the one best suited for my talents and interets.  Unfortunately, that kind of organization and regular sporting competition (with coaching) is not available for these South African youth.  You may be a student that really loves soccer, but you will be lucky if anyone coaches you (at least for more than the week before the competition) and also lucky if you get to play one game.  So, I was really excited to see this day come to fruition.  I was seeing something given to the children that they deserved to have.  To feel important and special.  Best of all…I had no part in it!!

The weather was cold and blustery, overcast skies and a slight drizzle…but that wasn’t cooling or dampening anyone’s spirits.  Around 10:00am the other team arrived in their Greyhound-ish bus.  The kids, in green track suits, jumped off the bus and intermingled with our kids, in red and blue.  Around 11:30am the games began.  The girls were divided into three teams…the A, B, anc C teams.  The girls would be playing three matches.  The boys were divided into two teams…the A and B teams.  The boys would be playing two matches. 

I was not given a job so I decided to employ myself.  I would be doing two jobs. 1) Taking photos and video of the games and 2) carrying around the school medical kit (which is never used except for hiding school money in…a ‘safe’ place because no one ever uses it…HAH!).  Fortunately, the medical kit was never needed on game day.  Even if something did happen, though, I am sure my first aid treatments would not be needed.  Local remedies would have been applied.  At one village soccer match I saw the most interesting medical practice performed on a player.  When a player came hobbling off the field from a calf-cramp the coach knew just what to do.  The coach simply poured some of his 40oz (1.5L) cold beer on the players leg…that did the trick and the player was good to go.  AMAZING!  Fortunately, this was a school event and the beer drinking wasn’t to come until after the game was over…of course…so I was ready and armed with my brand new looking medical kit that was actually 10 years old. 

The games went outstanding.  Our players were all fired up and competitive as hell.  I think it was because they never get a chance to play.  When you only play one game a year, you are going to be hungry.  The longer you starve the lion, the hungrier it will be…and our boys and girls were starving for competition.  The girls won two of the three games, crushing their oponents.  The boys tied the first match of soccer and then won the second with a score of 3-0, thanks largely to our 15 year-old MVP in 6th grade.  He scored every goal for us!  No surprise since he was a man playing against boys.  I have the boy in class and he is wonderful.  He has had a tough life and I don’t want to take away any of his glory.  I was very happy for him.  He deserved it just as much as anyone else, perhaps even more. 

After the games were complete, we ate a fantastic meal…a true feast!  Spicy chicken, rice, gravy, cole-slaw, beet root, pumpkin, spicy beans, pap, and salad.  It was simply amazing!  Unfortunately, for me things were not to stay so appetising.  Soon after eating, the alcohol came out.  There I was, sitting in my grade 5 classroom-just turned into a tavern.  I couldn’t sit there and watch the teachers from both schools drinking alcohol on school property, in a classroom, with learners still present at school.  I don’t know if I was wrong to feel that way, but coming from the United States where teachers get fired for stuff like that, I just felt a bit uneasy.  I decided that the day was a success and good enough to call it a “day”…why spoil it.  So, at 4:30pm I packed up my bags, said good-bye to everyone and left them to be.  I walked home to my small 4x4meter room…saying proudly to myself, “Dang, Pudulogo Primary School kicked butt today!  Go Pudulogo!!” 





Entry filed under: School Projects.

“Come to my rescue please, i am begging you.” he says COMRADES ULTRAMARATHON 2008

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Here are some famous blogs to check out from three of my good Peace Corps buddies!

A.J. KUMAR ajinsa.blogspot.com JOEY CARDELLA http://njebe.blogspot.com SARAH HORNS http://hornzyinafrica.blogspot.com

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