Sports is held during the first term every year. It’s the only time that Kenya students play organized sports during the school year so all sports happen at the same time. My school plays handball, netball, volleyball, football (soccer), and track. My school also has under 10 sports which consists of things like 3-legged races, sack races, etc.
My students get up at 5 am every morning during the first term to clean the school campus before morning exercises at 6 am. I was in charge of the morning exercises which consisted of push-ups, lunges, stretches, running, etc. for an hour. It was supposed to be 3 of us teachers coordinating it but I was the only one who actually showed up. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of all 90 kids when you’re the only adult on campus and it’s still dark outside. Needless to say some kids got really good at hiding so I imposed a push-up rule (if they missed the previous day exercises or were late then they had to do push-ups). They had morning exercises six mornings a week.
School would usually let out early so that kids could practice sports for 2-3 hours in the afternoon before dinner. They were also expected to practice 7 days a week. I helped out a couple of times with netball and helped out with volleyball as well.
At the end of the term, schools for the deaf in my province meet up for a 3-4 day sports competition. At this competition, there are around 25-30 schools and 500-600 people. I got a little taste of what it would have been like if I had gone to a school for the Deaf as a child. I did participate in sports at the Kansas School for the Deaf the first year I moved to the KC area. It didn’t go over too well. It was a cultural shock for me….I couldn’t understand the deaf kids and they couldn’t understand me. I couldn’t miss the expected number of days that I would have to miss from school to travel to other states for games. However, I am glad I did have that opportunity even though I eventually ended up playing sports at my mainstream school (it was just easier in terms of communication, transportation, acceptance, and schedule).
I also met up with 4 other PCVs and we all had a great time sharing our experiences and frustrations. It was so nice to find out that I wasn’t the only one who was dealing with the same things…made me feel better.
I was disappointed that some schools decided to bring hearing students to substitute for deaf students just so they could win. You could read it on students’ faces that they felt inferior, hurt, pushed aside, and confused. This is only a few days out of the year where these kids are given the chance to show that they can do anything and that opportunity was taken away from some of them.
On the bright side, my girls took home 1st place in netball!
At the end of sports (this is what it’s referred to), students are then selected to represent our province at Nationals which happened to be hosted in Nairobi this year. 9 of my kids made it to the National competition but many did not want to go. They were tired of already being away from their home and families for so long (3 months) and they were scared of the idea of going to a big city.
I headed back to my school after sports on April 13th and unpacked only to repack to head to Nairobi the next day for IST (in-service training). I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t work out for me to go and watch my kids at Nationals;we were told we couldn’t miss any of IST.
I tried to add pictures but the Internet doesn’t want to cooperate with WordPress…….will try again later!