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Running sprints isn’t exactly my favorite activity. Come to think of it, it’s not even in my top ten. Ironically, it somehow ends up as the topic for my first blog post in South Africa.

After working the sports camp Monday through Thursday, we have the option either go to the gym or stay at the field to workout. On Wednesday afternoon, a few of us stayed at the field after the sports camp to do field conditioning. When we lined up, a dozen kids aged 3-10 happily lined up next to us. On the count of three, with no instruction, we all raced to the other end of the field. Some of the kids grabbed our shirts to try and slow us down and beat us, others were able to keep up, and a few gave up early. This cycle repeated over and over for the next 20 minutes of running 100 yard sprints. I was out of breath, but these kids seemed to have endless amounts of energy! I was surprised their attention spans lasted this long because when I was their age I don’t think I was able to focus on anything for more than five minutes.

After the running, we did some abdominal exercises. As Chloe, Teaghan, Fanchon, and I got in a circle to do planks, the dozen kids filled in the spaces between to form a huge circle. I wish I had a bird’s eye view picture of this but I don’t think I’ll ever quite forget the image. What was most interesting about this whole situation to me was that these kids weren’t joining us to get a good workout in for the day. They were joining us because of their genuine curiosity of other individuals and their sweet nature that just want to play games.

“The tendency to treat individuals who may even be strangers like family is inspiring to me and something that I will take back home and try and implement in my life.”

After we were done with these exercises, one of the younger boys got kicked by an older boy by accident. He was crying hysterically on the edge of the field while the rest of the boys went off to play. Another younger boy about the same age grabbed our two stopwatches with lanyards, walked over to the crying boy, put one stopwatch around his neck and the other around the crying boy. He then preceded to wipe off the tears of the boy who was crying with his fingers and his shirt and hug him. These two boys were not by our definition brothers. However, the culture in Nomzamo township revolves around family, which is not defined by blood lines. Your neighbors are your brothers, sisters, cousins. The woman who runs the local hair salon is your aunt. The tendency to treat individuals who may even be strangers like family is inspiring to me and something that I will take back home and try and implement in my life.

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