The AVTET Ultimate Frisbee Team

In other news, I started a pickup Ultimate Frisbee team here.  (By the way, in case you’re wondering, ATVET (our home) is Agricultural, Vocational, Technological, Educational and Training College) Most people (especially boys, but girls, too) in Ethiopia under 20 plays football (soccer) a few times a week.  But many are interested in learning new sports.  From talking with friends of mine who have lived and worked abroad, sports can be such a powerful means of cultural exchange and a clear international language.  So, I recruited a captain, Abuyeyh, who is about 9, since he was the most dedicated and skilled at initial practices.  He keeps the disc at this house and comes at about 5:30, since I am at work until that time, and starts practice and skills drills.  Then, I show up at 6 and we do a little throwing and strategy workshop.  Finally, everyone’s favorite part: scrimmaging until it’s too dark to see, usually about 7:20.

The team is really coming together, and kids run up to me randomly in the compound to ask me if we can do more than the two days a week (Tuesday & Thursday), so we have started playing on weekends and occasionally other weekdays, too.

A really touching moment was last week.  Abuyeyh came up to me on the way to the field and held out his hand.  He had a gift, he placed it in my hand smiling and saying, “your, your,” and pushing toward me.  It was a steel pendant of the United Nations logo with three silver colored circles surrounding it, each the size of a dime.  It is awesome.  What a gift.  After asking Biru to translate, I found that he doesn’t know what the UN is or means, but that he found it in the dirt on his way home from school some months back, and has been saving it in his room since before I arrived as one of his prize possessions.  He wanted me to have it because he appreciated my working so hard with him and trusting him (one of the younger guys on the team) to be his captain and playing so much with him.  Whew.

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~ by Jillian & Adam on March 29, 2010.

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