On 30 May, my (Elizabeth's) team graduated from the Peace Corps Skillz program! Perry's group will graduate next week. :) Before their graduation, I asked some of my team members to write down a few of their favourite things about Grassroot Soccer...what I got back was wonderful; many of them even gave me short essays.
|Learner sharing his essay|
|One of the girls shares...|
|A third learner reads for us.|
One learner's writing even brought tears to my eyes. Here are some excerpts (Reprinted with permission. Edited for clarity with bracketed additions, but I tried to keep the learner's writing intact, they are trying!):
“Grassroot Soccer is important to me, because it help[s] [us learn] how to play with others. And usually [you] teach me about things that are good for me and things that are not good for me. And I like playing with other kids and it make[s] me feel important to play with them. I learn[ed] about HIV and AIDS. Now I know that HIV stand[s] for Human Immune Virus and I learn[ed] how to protect myself from HIV and AIDS. I learn[ed] how to take care of someone who has HIV. Other people don't like someone who has HIV and that is not right. You have to help someone who has this disease.
I also learn[ed] how to support your friend, especially in difficulties that he/she have. You don't have to turn [your] back. But you have to help him/her.” --N.N. (girl)
“I like to learn about HIV/AIDS and other things. Now I have many information about [having] HIV/AIDS or being a child at home...
I like Grassroot Soccer so much because I learn[ed]...things I did not know. I thank Mr. Motha and you Ms. Nomsa to help us. Thanks for Grassroot Soccer. I'm happy about Grassroot Soccer.” N.M. (girl)
“Things that I liked about Grassroot Soccer are: In Grassroot Soccer we have learned more information about many different things [and it] taught us about different ways of preventing HIV/AIDS. The best thing that I liked the most is when you [taught]us that to best prevent HIV you must abstain, use a condom, have one faithful partner, and if you are a man you have to do circumcising. I also liked the games we were playing, like take a stand, because some people were not closing their eyes properly when we close[d] our eyes.” X.B. (boy)
“In Grassroot Soccer I like to play everything [and] I like to play kilos and I like to read about HIV....I like Grassroot Soccer very much.” N.M. (girl)
“I would like to say thank you for doing...Grassroot Soccer. [T]oday I know everything about HIV/AIDS, it is all because of you and Mr. Motha. [I'd] like to say to you and Mr. Motha that you are my role model[s]. I wish when I grow up to be like you two guys. [W]hen I grow up I want to be a doctor. I will help those people who have HIV/AIDS. [T]he things that I like[d] in Grassroot Soccer is that we have talk[ed] about sex, now I know that sex [doesn't] mean sexual intercourse only, it [also] means gender. And now I know everything about my friend and we do the kilos. I wish you two guys a long life. Thank you!!!!!” P.M. (girl)
“In the Grassroot Soccer I like the lessons you have taught us about the spreading of HIV/AIDS. [I]t is a good lesson for people because we [did not know] how to assist people who [have] HIV but now we know. Now I can live with a person with HIV because you have taught me how to live with such a person. [Y]ou have taught us to respect other people.
|Learner leading us in a kilo.|
I wish we [could] have another Grassroot Soccer because you taught us to be brave and you taught us kilos.” M.M. (boy)
“The things that I like[d] in Grassroot Soccer. It is...to play the game[s] and to learn about HIV, [do] the Micro Move[s] and do do the activity [and] kilos. [I] like to play soccer, [it's] my favourite game in Grassroot Soccer. [Grassroot Soccer] gave me information about HIV, I [now know about circumcision] and I like the activity that we call take a stand.” L.M. (boy)
|Learners leading us in "Fact or Nonsense?"|
For graduation, the learners led a “mini-practice,” for our attendees. First, volunteers led us in some kilos: NJ kilo, Thunder kilo, and Coca-Cola kilo. Then three learners led the team (and the audience) through an activity called “Fact or Nonsense?”. After the activity, volunteers stepped to the center and read their notes and essays about Grassroot Soccer. We concluded the mini-practice with a team cheer: “Be happy!”.
Then we had all the students line up for the graduation ceremony. Mr. Motha and I thanked all the attendees and presented their graduation certificates. We also congratulated those with perfect attendance. After we handed out all the learners' certificates, I surprised Bobet with his own certificate. I think he was caught off guard, because he's looking super serious in the photo!
The final surprise we had for Team Tiger was....cake! Grassroot Soccer was fun and engaging, and I recommend it to all PCVs as a secondary project. We plan to do it again next year with the new crop of grade 8s!