I have heard that question a hundred times and on the moment I always viewed it as a question aimed at distracting the class. But with time I realized it was indeed a great question! When will we close our books and go play outside?
These kids are simply extraordinary. Loic is one of them. He never gives up in anything he undertakes. That is a great quality! He seems to have an unlimited amount of energy and is always restless; you will see him running around with a shoe in his hand chased by another kid running barefoot, climbing on trees to pick guavas and mangoes or calling Mrs. Anita, our neighbor, to get his ball back from her corridor. These behaviors led me to ruminate about the fact that these children need a medium to channel their energy. They just want to break free from the four walls of their classroom where they spend almost five hours of their day in.
There is nothing better than sports to get our students active. I, on the other hand, always wanted to share my passion for badminton and football with people. That is basically how the idea to start a sports program for our ELI students popped up. I also had the chance to be surrounded by inspiring people who still believe that a simple action today can make a big difference in the lives of people tomorrow.
My first class was on basic football drills and on that day I met Christopher Caserne, goalkeeper of the Mauritian national football team, who does an amazing job of training young children in his football youth academy. We briefly exchanged ideas about what we each envision for these children and we concluded that we were on the same wavelength.
When I first entered the school, I saw a bunch of rowdy kids. Today, one year since, I see a bunch of rowdy kids who are each special in their own way and have a potential for a great future if they are well surrounded. This is my role as a coach; to give these kids back the confidence which the Mauritian education system is failing to give them.