During the first few days of coaching students of ACJ Primary School in Nomzamo Township, I was incredibly impressed by the kids’ curiosity and inquisitiveness, competitive drive, and genuine happiness. These students truly do take advantage of every opportunity that they are given to learn, whether that be in the classroom or on the field, which I admire.
Before beginning the program, I was most anxious about the English to Xhosa language barrier. I expected that I would struggle to understand the kids’ native language and that they would in turn have trouble understanding English. I actually had no reason at all to be apprehensive. These kids are fluent in English and are so patient with all of us when we try to pronounce Xhosa words! I’m still working on the clicking noises, but have a couple of words down so far. My favorite phrase is “ndilambile”, which means “I’m hungry”, and my favorite word is “amaguenya”, which is the name for a fried dough ball. I still have to work on my accent because my attempts at speaking Xhosa are usually met with giggles from the students! It has definitely helped to know a few Xhosa words when coaching the students throughout the day. The kids seem to pay closer attention when they hear “kha wuleza,” which means “come quickly” or “yifumane” which means “do you get it/understand?”.
“These students truly do take advantage of every opportunity that they are given to learn, whether that be in the classroom or on the field, which I admire.”
A couple of days ago, I walked to the community field by ACJ to run sprints with two friends. There were about twenty other kids on the field already, ranging from about five years to twelve years old. These children were not in the ACJ program and did not speak great English, so they silently gathered around us with smiling faces. As soon as we started sprinting, they started running with us. These kids just about ran our entire workout packet with us and then proceeded to join us for some core exercises. Our plank circle was pretty awesome because we all were huffing and puffing but still smiling and in perfect formation. Although we exchanged few words with these children on the field, we still had a blast and understood each other through our actions. These kids were so eager to join in on our exercises because of their incredible curiosity and competitive drive. The fact that we could not verbally communicate with each other was inconsequential.