Sports Programmes at the BNC

Most of the children who attend the after school classes are fabulous little athletes with speed, endurance and a strong desire to win.  They love to play 4-square and dodge-ball at the Centre, as well as jumping rope and the usual kids games.  On Friday afternoons they often go to the nearby community sports complex where they can play tennis, basketball and soccer.



On Saturdays there is a soccer league just for the girls.  It is called “Galz and Goals” and it is organized by two Namibian sportswomen and players from the national women’s team.  The BNC has 6 teams playing in this 7-aside league, all of them called “The Little Pumpkins” because of their orange and black uniforms.  (You can Google “The Little Pumpkins” and see all sorts of video clips and magazine stories written about them!)  The BNC was once known for its emphasis on soccer and sports, but the past three years have seen a shift from sports to academics.  The children are now trained to be “Scholar Athletes”, which puts a more balanced emphasis on academic success than athletic participation.  When they do play, it is for enjoyment and fun, not just to win.  The Pumpkin motto of “Teamwork and Fair Play” not only applies to the girls, but to the boys who play in a mixed league run by Matthew a Namibian soccer enthusiast.  In total there are about 100 Little Pumpkins running around Katutura, easily identified by their orange jerseys and big smiles.  Their polite manners also separate them from the rest!  As part of their community service hours, the older kids coach the younger ones and referee their games.  There are also plenty of books to read on the sidelines!  Would you expect anything less from Scholar Athletes?

This is what Elias, age 14, wrote about soccer:
At first we played at the gravel field with bare feet.  Then MaryBeth took some photos of us and sent them to the USA.  When they saw our photos they felt sorry for us and donated some soccer jerseys, shorts, socks and soccer boots. 

Soccer boys Mary taught some kids to be referees and they could earn $5.00 for each game they refereed (Namibian $5 = approx 50 cents in US dollars). Then we began to play on the plastic grass field and we won some cups.  You must come to the BNC to see them, they are fabulous!  Now we play at the Khomas Stadium.  It is three kilometres away but we all walk there, even the smaller kids.

 And Rabon, age 14, added this:
Sometimes when we finished our games we would go to Sam Nujoma Stadium, where the Women’s National Team was playing.  One day we were standing there in the rain until the game finished and they even won! Yaaah!






On Sundays during the summer months, (September to May) the children go to the municipal swimming pool every other week.  There they play in the shallow end (most do not know how to swim) and run around on the lawns and playground.  Many children have fun jumping in the water from the side of the pool, rushing out and jumping in again on and on only to stop once in a while for a bite to eat or a sip of water. 




photo 1Yoga

Every Friday afternoon a group of approximately 15 kids stretch their bodies to the maximum in yoga class. Changing poses from the "Downward facing dog" to the "tree" the kids concentrate to balance and breath in the right rhythm. Although the movements are slow and sometimes mediative, John finds: "Yoga is exercise. I am sweating!"

Volunteer Clara, who through a previous volunteer service in India got the opportunity to study yoga in its origining country, is happy to see how her students adapt some of the Indian habits in yoga class, as for example the jiggling of the head and a friendly "Namaste!" at the beginning and at the end of class.