At Macha we have many students from various 'walks and activities of life'. They take time during their studies to be part of what is going on in Macha. Some do so as part of their studies, others as an intermediate activity. They are also human resource that can be focused on a task that needs attention. Most students to Macha come for activities in medical fields. Some students are easy going, some need lots of attention, but it is always worthwhile and a moving experience to be living within the rural African community. Students keep blogs about their experiences often, and with a Google search you might find several of them.
Today student Pim Herweijer gave his end-presentation of a three month period in Macha. He is student physical education at the University of The Hague and has been instrumental in helping the activities of Vision Community Works, Sports, an other leap forwards. He worked reporting to local community works expert Fred Mweetwa.
Sports offer important means in rural community development. It provides tools in the migration path between value systems pertaining traditional and ritual ways of tribal group life towards value systems incorporating higher authority and direct, absolutist rules. It trains participants in asserting self and handling of dominant behavior and power, as such imparting real life skills needed while being confronted with a changing world. And, of course, sport is conducive for good health.
Although we have been trying for years, it has been difficult to get attention - and funding - for sports development in rural areas. As Macha is now used to 'new developments' Pim entered a fertile area. He worked diligently and supported teaching of physical education at various schools, including Lupata Basic School and MICS. This inspired local educational talent to face questions as 'why sport', 'how to provide sport education', and 'how to use sports equipment'. This went alongside training and participating with local talents on organising of sports events, workshops and more.
We intend to measure effectiveness of visiting experts and students in the amount of coproduction with local talent they produce. As such, Pim worked with Mr. Kennedy Kanane, physical education and mathematics teacher at Macha's Francis Davidson secondary school, on a first concept for a 'rural proof' syllabus for physical education. This sylabus helps teachers in the process of improving Physical Education programs at their rural schools.
There is still lots to do and there is lots of room for further study. For instance, how to understand the rural mindset and view of sports, and how to build and maintain an innovative Vision Sports facility at Ubuntu Campus. However, it is again clear that sports activities are an other important element for sustainable progress in rural Africa.