Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Football in Skirts

Saturday October 17th 2009 I began my Ghanain football coaching career. I got up at 5:00am rode my bike 2 miles out to St. Francis High School to find an empty dirt field, two goals with no nets, some girls washing clothes and none of my football players. So here I am, discouraged, annoyed, tired, with my bike and notebook of drills and exercises and all for nothing. Thankfully the American teacher lives right next to the football field so I decide to go vent to her (hoping she’s awake). Mid venting to Joan by 6:00 some girls come knocking on the door, “Miss, Miss we’re ready for training”. So I go out and ask the girls what time they were told to meet. They say 5:00. My captain, Niima, is smart-in Ghana when one schedules a meeting it is important to tell people it starts at least a ½ hour before you actually want to start so you can start on time. They tell me they were tired and were sleeping and that next time I should wake them up. I turn into my mother at this point and say, "Am I your alarm clock? No." They thought that was hilarious. None of them have alarm clocks. By 6:15 about 21 girls show up. Tired and complaining the girls are all in skirts or dresses with flip flops- but they’re there. I now feel myself turning into my high school soccer coach and I lecture them on the importance of showing up on time. How they scheduled the meeting time and how I’m volunteering my time to be there with them etc…

So first we warm up. Some jogging, crunches, pushups, stretching. I’ve realized I won’t be able to do any really long runs yet since they don’t have shoes and I’m not sure what we ‘re gonna do about that. Then I bring them to a wall and I teach them wall sits or chair sits. I love these. They quickly realize they don’t love them. We do 30 sec. and they are practically ready to run away from the wall. But I’m like, no, 30 more sec. After this I have them do a competition, to see who can last the longest. Well now they can do it for over 3 minutes. They suddenly became very strong. They had a good time cheering on their friends who were lasting the longest and making sure everyone’s legs were at 90 degree angles.

After exercises I knew we needed to have some fun and since our only 3 footballs are all flat I have them play link tag. Well, I have learned that tag is not universal. It took about 10 minutes to explain but once we got going it was great and they had a good time.

Finally I went over passing with them. Different ways to pass the ball, how they should trap the ball (which they call breaking) and I threatened that if I saw them passing with their toe they would owe me 10 pushups. We formed two lines and practiced passing with both feet. Overall they did well, especially for being in flip flops and skirts. We’re having our next practice this Saturday so I am figuring it out as I go. Small small. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

A big hand that will slap you!

It has been much too long since my last post so I have way way way too much to write about!! So I'm just gonna talk about some random things that have been going on.

Recently in Jirapa is the rumor of a big dark hand that comes out of the earth in the middle of the night and slaps people!!! Supposedly it killed the man that owns the spot by my house and two others. Anyway I think it's hilarious and a good way to scare young kids into staying home late at night. But everybody I've been talking to has heard about it so word travels. I found out about it at 4:30 in the morning when this neighbor girl and I were going to Jirapa's "Keep Fit Club" that meets every Saturday. Yes, a keep fit club. The club actually has a lot of members but because of the fear of the hand there were only about 20 this last Saturday. So some differences in running clubs in the US and in Ghana...
*Ghana-4:30 in the morning is when you have to meet because its too hot at any other hour and you need to have time to fetch water and other things like that.
*US-You meet after work at like 6:00 in the evening.

*Ghana-You run in two rows and in whatever attire you have. Bare feet, sandals, whatever.
*US-You run where ever you want to and in nice (insert brand name shoe here) and appropriate running gear.

*Ghana- You must doge goats and sheep in the road because that is where they sleep. You also must enjoy the sound of the mosque calling people to prayer at this ungodly hour.
*US- You must doge traffic and enjoy the sounds of traffic.

*Ghana- You must have an exercise ready for the group when you reach the stopping point. Thankfully I know way too many exercises thanks to High School Soccer and I ended up leading some sit ups and leg strength exercises. And we only did about 10 and everyone was too tired.
*US- There is no stopping point until the end. And the leader always has a set of really difficult exercises that he/she can somehow do while talking.

*Ghana- On the way back you sing/chant. And clap. And you must greet people that are just waking up.
*US- You don't greet anyone! My God, your running!!!

Overall...people love to exercise no matter where you are. Not enough women can join the group here because they have to ya know, cook, clean, fetch water, take care of the children, and sell things for extra income. The women that were with us ran faster and had to go back early so they could start getting things ready for their families. Oh, and both groups have tee-shirts which is a must for a running club I think. It was a good time. I plan to keep going. As long as I can avoid the giant hand of death or whatever it is.

Work wise...I got a class at one of the Junior Highs started on letter writing to the wonderful Lindsey's 6th grade class in Hawaii. I told the students I only needed 20 kids and they should only do it if they plan on writing regularly and with good penmanship. I'm going later this week to check on the writing so hopefully they've started. They all got really excited when I brought it up so I'm thinking it will go over well.

I also helped the HIV/AIDS focal person for the District Assembly set up a meeting with local government employees on implementing a HIV/AIDS workplace policy since none exists. The meeting started late of coarse...like over an hour late. We spent a half an hour talking about starting too late...but finally once it got going it was great. Again only 2 women were there which is always disappointing for me but one of them had a lot of good input. So now we're just working on creating/formatting and submitting the policy to all the participants that came to the meeting.

Other than that I've just been spending a lot of time with the local Non-Government Organizations (NGO) helping with presentations mostly on HIV/AIDS. And I've been attending a lot of anything that I can! Meetings, clubs, market, weddings, funerals, presentations, whatever. Keeps me busy. Jirapa has a lot going on.


I got a bicycle finally. Which is really REALLY nice.

There are now 5 white people in Jirapa. 3 VSO volunteers from the UK just arrived and are working with the education department. They all seem very nice and will be good to work with.

There are 2 mice in my kitchen. And I hate cockroaches.

I'm heading to Wa tomorrow to see if I can get packages!! Yay my favorite Aunt Patty! I'll let you know.

All my love!