“Can I hold two four soccer camps during P.E. time for 8-14 year olds?” Jeff asked Macambacwini School. The school readily agreed. Imagine our surprise when we arrived on Monday and were told that these children don’t often get P.E. Apparently there is no P.E. teacher for the younger grades and as sometimes happens here in Mozambique where salaries are low – teachers may teach the essential subjects and then just send the children home. So, it was a special occasion to have P.E. every day for a week.
In Mozambique elementary and middle school students only study 4-5 hours a day, either morning or afternoon (depending on the schedule). This means there is little time for subjects beyond the basics. When P.E. is scheduled, the students may come in at a different time than their regular school day. In the upper grades, if a student studies in the morning, he will have to come back in the afternoon for P.E. If he studies in the afternoon, his P.E. will be in the morning.
Smiles dotted the soccer field as 55 eager children showed up in the first session, especially when they saw the visitor brought 20 soccer balls, an unheard of amount! The P.E. teacher for the upper grades came and divided up the children in two groups. One group for the first week and one group for the second week. The second day 45 children came. Dividing the list was not as easy as one might think because they all wanted a turn. We were able to finally sort out the groups, but once in a while a child or two that wasn’t registered would sneak in.
Each day they not only learned skills through drills and played a short game, but they also talked about “loving their enemy” and “forgiveness” and how these things apply on the soccer field and in real life.