Volunteers of MAD

“Sports Day” in Tanzania by Lyne’

Sitting in the guest house in Moshi, listening to the rain drops…the rooster crow…the kids laugh in the street….it’s hard to believe we are back. It has been almost a year since we were here.

The past two days have been amazing. We spent time at the orphanage yesterday, playing sports with the kids.

Well, Pat played sports, I mostly took pictures.

He taught them to play “horse”…a basketball game that was new for them. It was so fun to watch them laugh and try to make baskets from various angles. Lots of giggles as each kid who got through h-o-r-s-e, delighted to say “welcome to our club” to the latest one to miss a shot. Neema was the star of the game…battling it out with Pat for first place.

Then, they tried “American ball”, what they called the football we brought them. Most were puzzled as to what they were supposed to do with this ball. Pat taught a group of them to throw the football, and as I watched, I thought they probably wondered why we kept referring to this ball that you throw as a “football”. A few got the hang of it after awhile.

Revo decided he preferred playing basketball and turned back to bounce the basketball on the dirt ground before shooting a basket.

A couple of the boys were trying out two bicycles that were donated a few months ago. They rode a small circle navigating between clothes and towels hanging on the line…freshly laundered by the kids themselves earlier in the day as part of their Saturday chores.

Gifty could not reach the peddles sitting on the seat, so he moved his bottom to the fender behind the seat and peddled around and around. Benny caught a ride on the back of a bike driven by Joseph, who took a break from soccer to play chauffeur.

Upendo sat and watched the whole scene with a big grin on her face. She told me that she doesn’t like basketball, but prefers to play “net ball” at school. Based on her explanation, I think they play with a soccer ball and it’s either like volleyball or basketball with a lower net. She is small, so the basketball net was out of her reach.

Peter was fascinated with my iPhone, which he informed me was “very powerful”. He opened every app and figured out how to play some music, which delighted him. He also was intensely studying the weather app, which amazed him because he could tell from the picture whether it was night or day and what the weather was like in such far away places as “Walnut Creek”.

All of these activities took place in a space smaller than my backyard…surrounded by walls, with a gate that was unlocked, since it was daylight. The two housemothers watched and smiled.

This world is so different. These kids, who have been through so much, are now some of the “lucky” ones. They don’t have their parents, but they do have people that love them.

They have food…they have a bed to sleep on…clothes to wear…they are being educated.

Most kids at home would think they have nothing. I wish kids in America could experience this…we have so much and we don’t even know it.

Even as I write this my heart breaks for the others here. I wish we could help them all. Every child deserves to be loved…to have food and a bed and an education.

And “Sports Day”…every child should have the joy of “Sports Day”!

Make a Difference is truly making a difference in these children’s lives.