Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nothing but the whisk of the jumprope

We're welcomed by 250 kids--all clad in the bright orange uniform. From our previous visit a few days before, we remember how outgoing and excited these students can be. We have a small ceremony, beautiful voices singing, bodies dancing, and powerful words about education. The kids can't wait to play. Nicola sets up the jump rope games, and I organize more relay races. Instantly, we're in the groove, laughing, running, jumping and sweating (still about 100 degrees outside!) I teach a big group how to throw a frisbee and we play "monkey in the middle." Somehow, I end up in the center every time (like the mushpot in "ndovu, ndovu, simba!" A few girls approach me and ask me to play. For the rest of the afternoon, we are attached at the hip. We jumprope (until I'm ready to drop.) I can jump in, but have a hard time getting out, which makes the girls crack up. They teach me their chants "January, February, March..." and I'm overwhelmed by the joy I feel here. It's an energy like no other. One of purity, eagerness, all without borders, without barriers of any one thing that might separate us. Nothing matters but the rhythm of the jumprope tickling the red earth. The laughter and bright eyes of the girls I play with. The teachers are so excited to continue working with us. Their appreciation felt deeply in their warm handshakes.

I see a little flicker in eyes of the students as we say goodbye. I wonder if they believe we'll be back.

I hope they do.

Cause we will.

Thank you Nicola, for your gorgeous photos (last 5 here.)

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