Passion… Passion… Passion… Rugby has 5 main things as the “Spirit of the Game”. They are held as the first and most important things for the game. I think that is why I like the game so much. If you start with these 5, it trickles down and makes everything that much better.
1. Respect – All around respect for all that are involved including your teammates, the other team, the ref of the game, the coaches, the fans.
2. Integrity – Honesty and fair play makes the game enjoyable for EVERYBODY.
3. Solidarity – Life-long friendships, camaraderie, rugby passes the differences and everyone is equal.
4. Discipline – This applies on and off the field!
5. Passion – There is such enthusiasm for the game, an enthusiasm that really makes a global rugby family.
Lizandzo means passion in the local dialect of Shangana here in Maputo. I chose that name because we are really forming that family here in ADEDAR rugby and it’s so exciting to see. It is what keeps me going.
October 14, 2017, ADEDAR put on its very first, official rugby tournament, with first place prizes, tournament brackets, etc. It was basically a full day event, and the teams did amazing. We had 7 teams of under 16, 4 teams of under 18, and 2 teams of seniors. The focus was more on the under 16 and under 18. They all showed up ready to play their best!
One of the highlights of the day for me was seeing our new teams really take ahold and learn the game better and be good competition. Out of the 7 under 16 teams, 4 teams were new and this was their first real competition. Out of the 4 under 18 teams, we had one completely new team.
The environment was great! Teams were socialing with each other, talking, laughing, having a good time. This is rugby, and rugby creates this if you set the right tone from the beginning. Be sure to watch the video of the day to get a feel for our first tournament! I left happy and I hope so did all the rest!
Always changing, learning, and growing. That seems to be the theme of ADEDAR. Not a bad theme if you ask me.
Always changing. This year has been so different from last year. I can hardly get over it. Last year I felt so much more alone, this year I have so much more help. I have coaches who are really taking the initiative and getting things going on the ground. I have players that actually can make it to practices and you can see the improvement in their play. I have rugby clinics happening once a month. Rugby workshops once a month. I even have the coaches over for a meeting once a month and we have dinner and drinks. I didn’t see this last year! And now even by the end of this month, ADEDAR will be hosting it’s first real competitive tournament. Just 2 weeks ago I didn’t realize that was going to happen. That’s how fast things change.
Always learning. As things change, I have to learn with it. Not everything is handled correctly. And not everything is going to be perfect. It’s a rollercoaster, ups, downs, and all arounds. Keeps me on my toes and my arms open ready to go. I am learning to trust the process. I am learning that yes, I am not Mozambican, so I need to let go some and let Mozambicans do their thing to make it happen, but with some guidance from me. But I do have to learn to let go some because I can’t force my way of doing things. It wouldn’t work. So, yes, I have learned to be much more flexible. I’m still not very patient with some things...but I’m working on it. I’m learning that I need to stick with my gut feeling. It’s my guide to make this work. So far I don’t think it’s led me astray. But going with my gut feeling, I am also learning to be more open-minded. I am learning that soccer/football can be used to help rugby in some ways. I am learning I need to also balance my personal life and my professional because so much of it right now is professional. I’ve kind of forgotten the personal…
Always growing. When you learn, you grow. There is no denying it. I always want to learn so that I can grow and be the best me I can be for me and for others. It’s not always an easy process to grow and learn. Sometimes it can be harsh, sometimes it can be amazing, and sometimes it can be mind-blowing.
Always changing. Always learning. Always growing. That’s our lives, and that’s ADEDAR.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
It’s fun to see the difference in how rugby is developing from last year to this year. A big focus of ADEDAR is on females, but with rugby being so new, it’s hard to be able to do too much with only females. Well, that was the excuse before. NOW WE HAVE MORE FEMALES! It took time, consistency, and persistence, but we now have at least 26 girls who play rugby in Mozambique. That’s huge!
Getting girls to play here, we have run into a lot of obstacles. “Girls don’t play sports.” “Girls need to stay at home and take care of the house and kids in the house.” “Rugby is violent. Girls don’t do violence.” (FYI, rugby is aggressive, not violent).
Parents don’t like their girls outside of the house very much. But the boys, the boys can go play outside a lot. And I see that here. Right now there are kids playing some pick up soccer outside my house. How many girls are there? Maybe 1. We have a checkers board in our house the youth love to come and play. How many times have I seen girls in their playing? Maybe once or twice. And this is something I am not sure how to solve. I think it just takes the persistence and consistency for parents to see rugby is organized and serious in Mozambique.
About 2 weeks ago, we were able to hold a rugby demonstration in Xai Xai. We did a game of boys and a game of girls. For the girls, I had to choose only 16 who could come to the game. Our first “select side”.
This past weekend was a U14 tournament. We have been putting girls and boys together playing because each team doesn’t have enough females, about 2-3 females per team. EXCEPT for 12 de Outobro. Their U14 team is made up almost exclusively only females. This didn’t stop the girls from entering the tournament and playing their hearts out. Their line of defense was amazing. Their attacking line was strong. You could tell in their heads they were believing in themselves. The scoreboard didn’t show how well they played, but you could tell the boys had a tough time making it the tryline.
These are the moments and the times that ADEDAR lives for. Seeing boys from their team encourage them and help them and treat them as equal on and off the field gives me that extra ‘umf’ to keep doing what we are doing!
The girls that started with me last year, Marcia, Nayra, Crelia, Cilia, and the girls that have joined up this year, Stela, Edvania, Luisa, etc, they are the pioneers for more girls to play. They are building my confidence in ADEDAR continue to succeed!
Hit the Ground with my Feet RUNNING
There is definitely more I could have and should have been doing during my time in the USA! But my trip did give me a lot of ideas which is now what I am trying to apply to ADEDAR. Now I am back in Mozambique and I have hardly had a break!
As soon as I arrived (June 8), I was already planning and putting together everything for a Rugby Clinic for that following Saturday (June 10). I wasn’t 100% positive I was going to be able to pull it off, but low and behold, it happened, and it was good! I did 4 stations, but I think I should have done 5. I’ve been wanting to do a 5th station where it’s solely team-building activities, but I find clinics run better when I am not heading a station. I am not sure I have a coach who would quite know how to run team-building yet… Future goal.
Anyways, the clinic went well. I was even able to apply the use of pushing a tire in the sand while in the ruck position. (Thank you, Fiji, for your workout video I found on Facebook!) I will have to say, moving the tire was not easy on a field of loose sand… My coaches were amazing (Thank you, Adelino, Joao, Abdul, Samito, Nelio, Samito (a different one), Gerson and Tchemane!)
I felt like I could relax a little bit after the clinic, but not a lot. Things I learned while in the states need to be applied as soon as I can. My website needs a revamp, and I really, really need to concentrate on marketing ADEDAR! Without funding, this might have to be my last year…
It’s also interesting to see how my ‘job’ has changed from year to year. It is a sign of growth in rugby in Mozambique and that excites me a lot! Last year, I spent a lot of time in a school, introducing rugby, getting players interested, then holding trainings and getting a coach for that team. Times have changed (in only a year). My main job on the field now is to go to practices at least once every 2 weeks, make sure the coaches get the help and support they need, and to set up schools for coaches to go in and make teams. It’s very exciting how rugby is growing like this. I just need to make sure I am ready for this! Can ADEDAR handle this rapid growth? I am still learning soooo much as I go!
So, for those who don’t know, the reason ADEDAR is in Mozambique is because I did Peace Corps in Mozambique (2010-2012), and fell in love with the place and the people. Peace Corps seems to be this thing hyped up so much that we volunteers come in and really help out the local communities. Okay, so maybe we help a bit, but not really. It’s an experience, an adventure, and a chance to learn more about ourselves and about another culture. I was in Peace Corps for 2 years. I have been here now a year and a half. I feel more accomplished now than I ever did in Peace Corps.
I’m definitely not downplaying Peace Corps. It is what got me ready for this, for ADEDAR. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It helped make ADEDAR possible because it taught me so much and introduced me to a place I fell in love with. I know ADEDAR still needs a lot more of my time in order to reach the goals, and I am excited to see how it gets there in the end!
With all that being said, I think it’s time to close up this blog entry. Don’t forget to check out ADEDAR’s photos to see what’s going on here!
Hard to be Away
The year of 2017 has been going by fast, and I am just trying to keep up! Already, in just these 5 months, ADEDAR has 6 more teams. ADEDAR is getting more volunteers and that is what is making it grow. Mozambique is making rugby grow.
So, teams that we have now are:
Forco do Povo (Strength of the People)
12 de Outubro
Eduardo Mondlane de Laulane
And these teams are thanks to Joao, Adelino, Nelio, Rene, and Gerson. Without these volunteers, we wouldn’t be as far as we are right now. What also helps is they are going into the schools themselves and getting the students interested! It makes me soooooo excited!
But what is hard is being away from it all. I am not there right now. Rugby is still going. ADEDAR is still going. They are still playing, and the new teams are getting going, but I had to leave for a whole month due to getting the right documents, and as great as it is to see all my family and friends in the US, it is killing me to not see exactly what is going on over there. I was in the center of it, but I guess sometimes I need to take a step back and see how it goes. Rugby shouldn’t be my thing, it should be a Mozambique thing, and I guess it is starting to work to that. I get some players messaging me about the game they just played last Saturday, or that they had a good practice. It is what I want for rugby, but how do I not feel this FOMO I have going on! J
ADEDAR Rugby 101: An
Introduction to Rugby
I am not even sure how much time I spent on preparing for this course for rugby. It was something I was seeing that in the year 2017, to start us of right, we needed here in Mozambique. I sat for many hours translating my English resources of drills for rugby into Portuguese. I also was able to find the rules of rugby in Portuguese online. With these two things, I was able to make a resource book available for our coaches here in Mozambique. Of course, the part I translated into Portuguese may not be the best translation. But, I work with what I’ve got, right?
The course was held on January 9-11 each morning. We talked about the Spirit of the Game, styles of coaching, how to coach, what to think about when preparing and giving trainings. We went outside and did a lot of different drills they can use with their teams. We watched rugby games and had our question and answer time to talk about the rules and what was happening. I felt like a professor, but a professor without her masters. It is fun.
The course had 16 participants who were ready to learn. Those are also my favorite kind of students. In the end, they each got an ADEDAR Rugby 101 Certificate of Completion, and I even made a cake to celebrate on the last day as we watched Spain women beat New Zealand women in a game of 7s I was able to download. One course down, I would love to do more. Let’s hope they got out of it as much as I got out of it!
18 Jan. 2017
Beginning of a New Year...2017
8 Jan. 2017
It’s kind of hard to believe that ADEDAR has now been here for a year. A full year of developing rugby in Mozambique. And what do we have to show for this? Well, kind of a lot, considering ADEDAR is still so small. Perhaps we will always be small, but even the small ones can tackle the big things.
ADEDAR has reached 89 people. This isn’t including the numbers of students in the PE classes, or the ones that have shown up here and there to a few trainings or tournaments. These are the ones I can say are showing commitment to the sport. How many are girls you ask? What a good question. We have 21 girls and 68 boys. (These numbers are including all ages from 10-99).
A lot has been learned in this first year, and there is still so much to learn. But, as any good organization should do at the start of a new year (or even during the year) is to look at future goals. What is ADEDAR aiming for? What do we want by the end of this year? Or by June?
GOALS FOR 2017:
Jaime, my colleague here, put out a goal that I like, but I know it will be difficult: to make a tournament of just females. And as my late Grandma would say, “Isn’t that wonderful?” Yeah, that would be amazing!
We also want more teams in more zones. Along with this goal is to educate others in having that capacity to go out and make teams, coach, and be a part of rugby. ADEDAR needs to provide the resources and tools in order for this to happen.
Make clubs in the different areas of rugby. For instance, we have schools in the Bairro of Chamanculo, so we can make a Chamanculo Rugby Club that is made up of these teams. We will be the Chamanculo Rugby Club Elephants (logo is to come shortly).
Enter more schools and have ADEDAR itself make at least 8 more teams this year, ideally with at least 3 being exclusively female.
Incorporate more the importance of character education within the game (and then to bring outside of the game), a better show of commitment by the players, and to instill more the importance of staying focused in school.
And, of course, as any non-profit organization has to think about, raising more funds in order to make all the above actually happen.
And quotes to help ADEDAR stay focused and work toward these goals:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela (one of my heros)
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Unknown
“Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.” – Unknown
“If people are not laughing at your goals, your goals are too small.” – Unknown
“Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got one flat.” – Unknown
“Set a goal SO BIG that you can’t achieve it until YOU GROW INTO THE PERSON WHO CAN.” – Unknown
“Hold fast to dreams. For if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes
I am sure more goals will come as this year unfolds, and we are open and ready! Welcome, 2017, Let’s GO!
End of Year 2016
It’s the end of the year as we know it. Well, basically. I would say things have been pretty successful. We didn’t meet all our goals completely, but I would say we still did pretty awesome this year! I feel great!
So, what did we accomplish this year? ADEDAR has created a total of 7 co-ed teams in the last year, reaching 80+ people in Mozambique to play rugby, girls, boys, men, women. This is a great time to look back and remember the year.
It all started with Mafalala, a community team of boys ages 10-14. I’m not going to lie, Mafalala has been like a rollercoaster with me of love and frustrations. I spent the December of 2015, when I arrived, going 2 times a week to Mafalala coaching any kids that came to the field. I started to get some consistency, and a team started to form. Their first game was at the French School. They still had so much to learn, but they did really good. At times, they were great, full of energy, singing, enjoying our times. They always seemed to amaze me at different things. And then things started to get more difficult with them. They certainly didn’t know how to lose, but what got me worse was their attitude at the games and their bad behavior. They weren’t good at listening and their dishonesty with me got to me. I haven’t completely given up on them, but I don’t really do much for them. I don’t invite them to my rugby events anymore. I had several talks with them, and I think finally they are starting to realize I am disappointed in them. Maybe next year I will try to invite them again, but at this point, if they are invited by MRC, that’s fine. It sounds terrible, but you can tell they expect handouts, and I don’t want to feed into that behavior. So, yes, Mafalala, a rollercoaster of emotions…
When schools started, things really got rolling! I started at Eduardo Mondlane Secondary School with my amazing counterpart, Jaime. He is a PE teacher there. This is the school I worked at the first time I came to Mozambique and did my “experimental run” of rugby in Mozambique. Because of Jaime, Eduardo Mondlane Secondary School has been doing great, a lot of students and commitment amongst the players. Here we have 8 girls and 10 boys on a more consistent level. There are more, but not regulars. There we have Gift coaching the team.
After Eduardo Mondlane, I moved to Guebuza Secondary School. This was a bit tougher. I learned I need to look at the school schedule closer and understand it better. I started going to PE classes at Guebuza, but almost right away was school holidays. I have also learned that having a tournament pretty quick after introducing in PE means more will be more committed to wanting to play rugby! Got to get them hooked. Guebuza has been up and down on commitment and having a team vs. not have a team. We have 5 girls, and 4 boys that show more commitment, but it’s been hard with school schedules, courses, etc. Here I have Abdul coaching.
After Guebuza Secondary School, I moved onto Lhanguene Secondary School. This school has a nice field and that has been very helpful. I also have one girl who tackles better than any of the guys! She’s teaching them, and she’s not even big, but she doesn’t miss those tackles during the games! Here we have 3 girls and 9 boys that are really committed. Lhanguene is one of ADEDAR’s stronger teams. Coaches haven’t been the easiest to keep and put in schools. Milton was my coach for Lhanguene, but he unfortunately had an accident and his feet aren’t doing so well. Thanks to Abdul, Lhanguene still has a coach! Abdul is now also helping out at Lhanguene which is a lifesaver!
I can’t forget the community team we have in Chamanculo. This team has also been around, disappeared, and then reappeared. With work, school, etc, commitment can be hard in a community. Chamanculo is a strong team, though. We have 7 guys on the team when they aren’t working!
And then there is Pedogogical University – PE School. This one has been the most fun to go to their school on Fridays and teach for an hour. But, their schedule doesn’t give them much time to train and play rugby. I have a big list of students who want to play, but they are also on the volleyball team, track team, or soccer. And when it comes to the end of the year, they are busy with exams! But we still have the team, and when they can come, especially Francisco and Vasco, they are there! Rugby will get bigger, and they will be back!
Gito, one of the players and now one of my coaches, insisted that we go to Primary School 25 de Junho and to Primary School Mista Chamanculo. It is because of him we have these teams. He joined the 2 as one to make enough students at this time for the different age levels, but they are doing great. We have 4 girls and 12 boys playing between these 2 schools. I love the initiative Gito put forth and has shown with rugby! I love seeing his kids play!
And now, the end of the school year is coming. Students are taking exams, seeing if they are passing for the next grade, etc. In the midst of this, Abdul was able to help create a community team in Hulene through his cousin. I am now in Hulene coaching 2 times a week in the morning. It’s a team of sub 16 and 17+, but at the last practice, a man walked up to me and is interested in making it for more levels, for U-14, U-12. I can’t do it all on my own, but it’s going to happen!
I am excited for the new year to come and see what it brings. More rugby clinics, more tournaments, more players. I just hope we are all ready! I need to spend this break from school and get prepared to organize what is growing so fast!
They Grow More When I am Gone…
ADEDAR has basically become my life. My heart and soul is in this, and I am incredibly happy it is. But, that does make it hard to take a break, to go on vacation, to leave for a bit. I made sure when I was leaving Mozambique, I tried to have all the loose ends tied up so things would be going okay while I was gone. I think I give myself too much credit.
I had to go back to the USA to work on my visa situation in order to stay in Mozambique, so I made it a holiday and also worked a bit while in the US. It was a great vacation, I got to see a lot of family and friends, but I couldn’t help keep looking and asking about how rugby was going and doing in Mozambique.
I couldn’t have done any better myself! If it’s almost as if they develop more rugby when I am gone! Maputo Rugby Club and Jaime, my counterpart in all this shananigans of rugby in Mozambique, has really stepped up and we now have another 7 teams in Mozambique. There is a series of tournaments going on for Saturdays, with fields ready and reserved. It’s a great feeling knowing that rugby is really getting going now in Mozambique and it has a lot more to do with Mozambicans than it does with me.
This is how we will complete the first year of making rugby something in Mozambique. It’s so exciting that my goals have been met (for the most part). Time to write out my goals for next year and get things ready to go!
Girls DO PLAY sports!
As I was introducing rugby today at the Secondary School of Lhanguene, I was watching the girls and boys play the games I use to teach rugby ‘pouco a pouco.’ A sad thought came to my head.
I hate making generalizations, especially when it comes to generalizations about gender. Like the whole generalization about how girls aren’t good at sports. That they just don’t “get it” when it comes to sports skills and games. I know not everybody makes this generalization. I sure don’t, but you can’t deny there is something in the back of everybody’s heads, and some in the front, that say girls just aren’t good at sports.
But I do find it hard to watch a group of girls who just don’t “get it”, but something to remind everybody, it is because of their gender but only because of how society has nurtured that gender to not have the tools to “get it.” And even with that nurturing society, there are still girls who totally do get it.
As a Physical Education teacher, I see this everywhere. I saw it in India, I saw it in the United States and I see it in Mozambique. I definitely see that the majority of people in the class that “get it” are the boys. But the culture also defines on how big that generalization really is. By culture, I mean by how the women are treated in the country, what girls have access to be able to do and learn. In the USA, I will proudly say we are fighting for gender equality and winning a lot. We are obviously not seen as equals still. Women’s sports don’t get much attention or money. Women get paid less in the workforce. And if you are like me, we all have dad’s that say, “Probably a woman driver.” (I love my dad, don’t get me wrong!!!)
In India, my experience I think was a little different because my student’s were all a bit more privileged than that of the rest of India, but gender inequality was still definitely an issue. But looking back at that experience, I had more girls that played sports with me than I saw in sports during my time in Peace Corps in Mozambique.
I spent 2 years in Mozambique in the bush “the end of the world” as some Mozambicans call it. Gender inequality is way different than that of being in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. There was definitely more males than females in school, females were stuck at home in the kitchen more and had more responsibilities for taking care of the family. I still see it here in the capital, but not quite as much as Mabote.
It is things like this that prevent the girl, woman, female, from being out on the field and playing. You go to any field here in Maputo and you will see more little boys playing soccer, running, doing flips from an old tire, etc. There are some girls, but definitely not the same amount as boys. This is where it starts. This is where the skills are learned. Not only are those boys training their bodies to know how to kick a ball, jump, move their bodies, they are training their brains to understand the flow of a game, how to use each other on the field, etc. Girls, in general, miss this stage of growth because they aren’t given the chance to learn it.
Even if the girls have the time and chance to be on the field more, to jump around on a tire, the boys put up a stink and won’t let them play with them because their “skills” aren’t good enough to play with the boys. So, it becomes a downward spiral for the girls… They try to play, they can’t because they aren’t good enough (because they hadn’t had a chance to learn yet), and so they don’t play, and therefore still don’t learn the skills needed to be better players.
Not only is it not getting the chance to have the right tools to play, but also society telling/feeding girls that they need to look pretty, be skinny, wear makeup and dresses, and do what the boys/men/males tell them to do. The world in general is working on this, but some cultures are much more behind than others in this matter.
And unfortunately, this applies to Mozambique. I definitely have seen some girls here who are definitely athletes. They “get it”, and they “get it” good. But if you look at the overall population and who “gets it” more, it’s the boys, the males, the dudes.
But that is why rugby here in Mozambique can be a great opportunity for gender equality. Rules in the game don’t change for rugby between genders. And since football, or as we Americans call it soccer, is such a big sport and boys tend to already be playing football, rugby is a new sport, a new chance for the girls to play something different. At least that’s how I look at the opportunity ADEDAR can bring for Mozambique. ADEDAR develops rugby for males and females, but it’s a great chance to enter as equals with the males in a new sport!
"Isn't he wonderful?"
This is how my Grandma would say it: “Isn’t he wonderful?” I am talking about a man here who has been a big part in why rugby is growing. Jaime. Jaime Castelo Langa. Who knows what life would have been like without Jaime… rugby probably wouldn’t be growing as much as it is right now.
Jaime is a guy who works a lot. He is a PE teacher at Eduardo Mondlane Secondary School. He has helped develop gymnastics in Mozambique, making it a part of the Mozambican curriculum now. He is also now a rugby coach for the Maputo Rugby Club and helps to organize our tournaments, coaches, etc. Jaime is the guy I go to so that I can understand Mozambique and how to better apply rugby and make it happen.
How did I get so lucky to find someone like this? Pure luck. When I was here in Feb/March 2015 for my experimental run of ADEDAR, I was teaching at the PE Faculty for future PE teachers. Somebody not even in the class, Professor Wates, approached me after class and asked if I would like to go teach rugby at his Secondary School, Eduardo Mondlane. I happily said yes, of course I will! I taught his classes and introduced rugby. I met his colleague, Jaime, and then taught his classes to indroduce rugby. Since I was only there for 2 months, there wasn’t much I could do as far as creating a team, but I got the feeling that, yes, Mozambique wants rugby. I left satisfied and had some connections. I had no idea my connection with Jaime was going to be so integral!
In November of 2015, Maputo Rugby Club was looking for coaches for their teams. Professor Wates heard about it and mentioned it to Jaime, who took on the role. Then Jaime pulled on some more players to play with MRC. He pulled a student that I had taught during my time in 2015, Omar. Omar fell in love with rugby, and brought more friends. Omar is now a coach for 2 teams in Mafalala, under 12’s and under 16’s. He, along with Jaime, is playing a huge role in developing rugby in Mozambique.
I want to give a huge shoutout to Jaime for all the help he gives for rugby in Mozambique and for ADEDAR. He is fun to talk to, helps me get it in Mozambique, and he gets it. Watching him play the game is also fun. His tackles our spot on, nice and low and very technical. He’s not the biggest guy on the field, but he’ll take someone down like Omar, who is one of our biggest on the field (all muscle), and not be scared to do so. Jaime is willing to listen, and to do what he can to help the growth of the game. Thank you, Jaime! I am so glad we met and that we can work together!
2 June 2016
If you love the sport...
I forget exactly how Xavitu said it, but it was exactly how I felt as soon as I started playing rugby. If you love the sport, you don’t miss practices. He figured this out for himself. He is one of my coaches here who has fallen in love with rugby. I have Xavitu and Abdul who are heading up the morning and afternoon teams of Escola Guebuza. Milton, who comes to these practices also, is another coach to be who really wants his own team here soon also! He is also in love with the sport already.
When I started this this year, we were in search of coaches, now I have a line. I have some players from my University team who also are wanting to coach a team. I can’t make teams fast enough it seems!
You can see the love of the game, the love of rugby in the eyes of those who are in love. They have a desire to learn, they enjoy practice, joke, laugh, train. They are sad when it is a day of practice without tackling. Even the quiet ones that are hard to read on if they like the game or not, are always coming back and show the commitment and love of the game in their own way.
I love the sport, I love coaching the sport, I love playing the sport, and I love seeing people fall in love with the sport. Just 5 years ago, I would never have guessed I would be here doing this now. Dreams grow as you grow…
And here are some good quotes I found that seem to describe me and my dream:
“The magic recipe to living out your boldest dreams: a pinch of delusion, a dash of audacity, and a shot of courage.”
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
“Sometimes life is about risking everything for a DREAM no one can see but you.”
And one that has been with me for a while:
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
17 May 2016
School Holidays…making things harder…
I remember when I was in school. I loved school holidays. My family and I would travel somewhere in the country for spring break. It was awesome. I still like school holidays and such, but I am realizing it kind of slows things down for rugby. It didn’t have to stop completely for the holidays, but it was definitely harder to get the students out to practice and/or games and tournaments.
But, no worries, we are still holding strong with rugby in Mozambique. I have been working at the Secondary School Armando Emilio Guebuza which is in the neighborhood of Chamanculo. We have trainings on Mondays and Wednesdays in the afternoon for the students who study in the morning and same days in the mornings for the students who study in the afternoon. I have a list of at least 150 kids interested in playing rugby…I have had a committed handful actually show up. Now that holidays are over, I am sure that will change. As one of my coaches for this school said, it will grow, we just need to be patient. Things don’t happen fast around here.
This past Saturday we had a tournament that was great. We only had one field and couldn’t very easily split it into several fields, so not as many games going on at a time, but it was good. We had 3 adult teams and 3 high school teams. Our last game was all of them mixed together to play. Unfortunately that game was cut just a bit short by a snake… Then we all shared bread and bedjea sandwiches and Coca Cola and Fanta.
The Saturday before this we also had a game of Mafalala versus Chamanculo, 2 adult teams. The thing about rugby, you play rain or shine. And, boy, was it raining! It took me about a week to dry out everything!
Now I am off to training of the future PE teachers. We now have a team who I just love their spirit and smiles. Rugby and Mozambique, together, at last, and it’s AMAZING!
6 April 2016
Taking a Walk
Mafalala is the first team made by ADEDAR. They are called my Mafalala boys. It has been an adventure and a learning experience with them for sure. We had a tournament on March 19, 2016. I have been showing up and taking the Mafalala boys myself to the tournaments. I was going to take them in a chapa and bring them back in a chapa, but when I got there and we were ready to go, they said they would walk there and then take a chapa back. Fine by me. So, we walked. Omar stayed back to go with his older boys of the other team he made in Mafalala.
Mano Lito (Older brother Lito) was told by Omar he is responsible for all the kids smaller than him. That is all of them. He is 14, the oldest out of my original Mafalala boys. I walked in the back and made sure we were all staying together. I wasn’t able to get a picture, but when we got to busy streets, I loved what I saw. Mano Lito stopped everybody, made them all hold hands in a line, and they would all cross together. They made sure all hands were held before they could cross the road. If you are looking for an example of Ubuntu (I am because we are), that is it.
The tournament went pretty good. A few glitches with being able to use the field, but I guess that’s going to happen in my years here. I might as well start getting used to having to suck up to the “chefes (bosses).”
After the tournament, Maputo Rugby Club provided pizza and pop. Here is where the Mafalala boys did not make me proud, but it is something Omar and I are working on. They would just grab as many pizzas as they could, not even thinking about the others in the tournament who may need to eat also. After this behavior, both Omar and I had a talk with them. I loved Omar’s speech. It is just more that I keep learning about Mozambicans. His speech basically was saying that, “We don’t eat pizza. Pizza doesn’t fill us up. We eat xima (cornmeal). Xima gives us force and power. Pizza is nothing.” It definitely makes me think about when ADEDAR will truly host a tournament where we can provide food and pop for the social afterwards. Pizza is great, but we should make the social more Mozambican. It should be local. Chicken, xima, rice, beans, sambosas, chips, etc. But, that will come.
We took a chapa home, and my boys were singing the whole way home. It was pretty fun to watch and feel their energy after the rugby tournament. Things are still small and getting started, but hopefully we can keep this feeling up and this progress that we are making.
6 April 2016
WE WANT TO TACKLE!!
There’s 2 basic games of rugby, touch and tackle. Then of course it gets more in depth with games of 7 a side, 10 a side, 15 a side, etc. But let’s get back to the touch and tackle.
Touch is nice because it’s less contact and really makes a player work on their ball handling skills and working with each other more. There are a lot of good things when learning touch. Tackle is nice because it adds another aspect to the game, but it can be a bit intimidating for new players. I never really know if tackling will be accepted and loved or not.
It’s been accepted and loved for the most part. I have 3 girls that play on the Eduardo Mondlane School team who came to practice the other day, and they were upset because we were doing ball handling skills and not tackling. They pulled me to the side, and said “Coach, we want to tackle.”
It’s a great feeling when I can see people really loving the sport. Touch, tackle, 7s, 10s, etc.
6 April 2016
A challenge ADEDAR will have as time goes is getting coaches for the teams being made. I can stay for a while and coach a team, but after a bit, I need to leave it with somebody else and I go coach another team. I guess my job is really just going in and introducing the sport, finding players, teaching the basics, and leaving it at that. It’s fun, I like it. But hopefully at some point in the next few years, I can find other people to do the same thing and I can actually coach a team more. But that will come with time.
Luck has been on my side with finding coaches, though. There are a few players that play with Maputo Rugby Club that are interested in coaching. For instance, I have Omar in Mafalala. At Eduardo Mondlane School there is Jaime, and also Jose (aka Gift). I pulled another player from MRC to be coach at Guebuza School for the morning trainings.
The other way I have been lucky is how supportive and helpful my boyfriend is with rugby in Mozambique. He decided to play in our last tournament on March 19. He loved it. He even brought 2 friends with him. After that tournament, that same night, we were people watching on the street and the 3 of them were telling their friends how fun rugby was and that they need to play. That next Saturday we had training with 7 players there. By the next tournament on April 2, we had 10 players for an adult Chamanculo team. From those players, I have been able to pull another coach who is really excited to coach the Guebuza school in the afternoons.
A goal of ADEDAR is to make rugby a Mozambican thing. Not a Mandy thing at all. I am just here to provide the opportunity, the knowledge, I am the resource. Mozambicans are the reason rugby will grow if Mozambicans want it.
17 March 2016
Take it Literally...
I had no idea apparently how literal the kids here can be. Learning something new everyday…
I know my Portuguese isn’t perfect. It definitely didn’t come natural to learn the language in the first place. But I also get mixed signals on how my Portuguese is. With most people I seem to be able to have in depth conversations. I can even be sarcastic and joke with people. I feel I am getting more of what is in my head out for the other person to kind of understand what is going on in there.
And then I go to schools and introduce rugby in the Physical Education classes. Most of the time I feel like the students are just staring at me, either in awe, in fear, or plain curiosity of “who the hell is this person?” What I am saying here is they seem to not hear what I am saying.
Every class I try something new that didn’t seem to work from the class before. I try to explain in a different way. I use other words, I try to make it simpler. Something that maybe they will understand better. I am learning that yes, its partly due to my language, and probably partly in the manner in which I teach (very different than a typical Mozambican teacher), but I feel a lot has to do with the students typically making assumptions on the rules I say because it is similar to a game they or we have played before. It is interesting how they interpret rules.
But what made me laugh yesterday during class was how literal the students can be sometimes. I guess it’s something for me to learn about what exactly I am saying and how it is being heard. One of the activities I do is have them get in a circle and work on passing and receiving the rugby ball so that they are ready to play the games I teach them with the ball. It seems like every class has a problem of actually getting themselves in a circle. I say the word circle in Portuguese in several different ways in case I said it wrong. I draw a circle on the ground to show them the definition of the word I am apparently trying to say…
Yesterday made me laugh a lot though. Before I split them in their groups to make the circles, I told them they will go in their groups and make a circle and went on to explain the definition of circle by drawing a circle in the sand. The groups went on their separate sides, stood in a line…and then drew a circle in the sand. I am not sure what they thought they were going to do with a circle in the sand…
I couldn’t help but laugh at how literal they took what I said. I guess it’s also me making assumptions on what I think they should already know when I say something. Good reminder to me to not get frustrated but the things I do are different, they way I speak is different, my body language is probably different also. Maybe in a year or so these things won’t be so hard…
Another Day, Another Team, Another Tournament
11 March 2016
I knew when I was getting into this whole rugby in Mozambique thing that it wasn’t going to be something that just happened. It wasn’t going to be fast and easy. It meant I would be in Mozambique for a long time, most likely forever. ADEDAR is taking it slow and steady, pouco a pouco, pole pole, to make things right. To make things stick and actually make rugby a popular sport here. It started with just me wanting it, and has become more than me. It is slowly becoming a part of Mozambique and that is exciting.
Schools have finally started up. Yes, classes officially started February 8, but finally ADEDAR is in the classroom introducing rugby. It’s been fun, frustrating, and amazing all at the same time. Tournaments are happening about every 3 weeks. Kids are excited to play. With things going the way they are, I already have it in my head to get a team of girls and a team of boys and head up to Kenya for a tournament in September. But the only way this will be possible is with the help of sponsors and donors. Unfortunately, ADEDAR is not getting much. Your help in any way would be greatly appreciated. Please think about what and how you may be able to help! Anything and everything is always appreciated!
Well, Mafalala is still staying strong. To the next tournament we are bringing about 15 players. That means we have doubled our size already. There are still a lot of little kids…but these little kids, as much as they seem to love it, they also don’t show it by just doing what they want to do and not listening. Eventually, they’ll get better at it, but hey, who can blame them? They haven’t even completed 10 years of life on this earth!
School has started, so it has changed up a bit on when trainings are. Makes it a little more difficult. With Omar and Milton coaching, and already a third, Jose, Mafalala will stay strong. It’s just about to the point where I might be able to step back. Omar even is heading up practices on Sunday afternoons also of just physical exercises to “get strong’ for the games! It’s getting serious!
I am not leaving Mafalala, they are my original team of ADEDAR, but I think it’s time to take a step back and start working on some competition! Lovin’ it!Mafalala-lala-lalalala 24 February 2016Well, Mafalala is still staying strong. To the next tournament we are bringing about 15 players. That means we have doubled our size already. There are still a lot of little kids…but these little kids, as much as they seem to love it, they also don’t show it by just doing what they want to do and not listening. Eventually, they’ll get better at it, but hey, who can blame them? They haven’t even completed 10 years of life on this earth!School has started, so it has changed up a bit on when trainings are. Makes it a little more difficult. With Omar and Milton coaching, and already a third, Jose, Mafalala will stay strong. It’s just about to the point where I might be able to step back. Omar even is heading up practices on Sunday afternoons also of just physical exercises to “get strong’ for the games! It’s getting serious!I am not leaving Mafalala, they are my original team of ADEDAR, but I think it’s time to take a step back and start working on some competition! Lovin’ it!
Mafalala, where Eucebo started his career. Who is Eucebio? Don’t worry, I didn’t know either, but I think you need to be a football/soccer fan to know who he is. He was a football star back in the day, and his home is Mozambique, in the zone of Mafalala to be exact. He played professionally in Portugal. But that isn’t the reason ADEDAR is working in Mafalala, but it’s a cool fact!
Mafalala is a zone in Maputo that is known throughout Maputo and Mozambique as a zone of “bandidos” e “drogados” (thieves and druggees), in other words a hard neighborhood in Maputo. When I was here back in March and April teaching at different schools, I taught at the Secondary School of Eduardo Mondlane which is not in Mafalala, but it’s close. One of the PE teachers I worked with apparently has now stuck with rugby and is working with Maputo Rugby Club and with me now in Mafalala. He has been an excellent connection. He also brought 2 more students to Maputo Rugby Club and now they play rugby. Awesome!
These 2 students are from Mafalala. Paulo, who was a national rugby player for Portugal has moved to Mozambique now and is also a big hand in ADEDAR. He told me about this and now ADEDAR is in Mafalala with coaches, not just me. That is what is also so exciting for me!
Working with youth during the holiday/school break is something I didn’t even really think of much. But it’s something that I have realized is great, for the youth anyways. I haven’t been able to get many people above the age of 14 yet, but that will come… Unfortunately, many adults are on the side of the field watching and just drinking beer. Also, unfortunately, the field is full of broken glass bottles. We aren’t tackling, but it is definitely something that will need to be considered.
ADEDAR has been working in Mafalala now for the past 3 weeks. The kids are really starting to get the idea of how to play rugby, with what seems to be the hardest part of passing the ball backwards and not allowing it to go forward. And also running with the ball. It has definitely been a great time in Mafalala, with some frustrations also, but that is expected. The football players try to kick us off the field 30 minutes early, and the kids behavior while playing with me. I have seen it get better. It started with them not listening well, pushing each other, even kicking each other. I’m not one to let that go. Rugby is a sport about respect of anybody and everybody on the field and off the field. I kick the kid out from playing for a while. If he leaves, he leaves, but he typically waits until I let him back in the game. Behavior has been changing, which is a great feeling.
I have been working on getting females more involved. That has been hard. Sports for girls is not a big part of the culture at all. I have had 2 girls participate for a day in the past 3 weeks. One I went over and just pulled her in. I could tell she was interested, but she was shy. She played, laughed, smiled, but I haven’t seen her again. It’s going to be hard to get girls involved, but it will happen. It will.
Schools start in February. I will head back to the classrooms to introduce rugby, but a big concentration will also be on the future PE teachers at the universities. I am realizing the importance of finding those coaches to help me. I couldn’t do this in Mafalala without Omar, Jaime, and Milton.
On three, Mafalala Rugby! 1…2…3 MAFALALA RUGBY!
Mozambique, hoy yay! ADEDAR is here! It’s going to take a lot of work to get her off her feet, but she’s going to make it. Takes a lot of heart and perseverance. It’s so exciting to be back in Mozambique. It hardly even feels like I left, except that I am sweating so much! It’s so hot!!!! I don’t remember it being this hot when I was here last year in December, but then again, my body was way more accustomed to the heat before arriving in Mozambique because Tanzania was just as hot at that time. I feel like I am starting to turn more Mozambican, almost taking 3 showers a day!
First thing first, I have to find a place to stay. My second goal is to get a scooter/motorcycle and get my logo put on it. It will be my ADEDAR ride. I also am in contact with the Maputo Rugby Club, the Ministry of Education, and the Faculty of Physical Education here in Maputo. Schools are out for the holidays already, so this is a good time to prepare and get all that paperwork and setting up times and places and all that good stuff in.
Today I talked with a guy here, a former Portugal national rugby player, who is also very keen, maybe as keen as me, to get rugby developed in Mozambique. How these things work out is always amazing! We talked for probably a good hour on his ideas and ADEDAR’s ideas and how we can work together and how we can work with Maputo Rugby Club. He even talked about an organization in Portugal with the word Ubuntu in the name and the possibility of collaborating with them. That’s when I knew things in this universe were just working out for me. Ubuntu, a word I find important to me, means “I am because we are.” Of course I would love to work with somebody with that philosophy!
Schools start in January or February (some January, some February), but that doesn’t mean I will be sitting around waiting for students to show up to schools, it just means I have a lot of time to prepare, and a lot of time to also go about things in another approach.
“O pedro pedro construindo nova dia.” [“Stone by stone building a new day”]
- part of the Mozambican National Anthem
Dubai, so many reasons why...
Wow! Dubai 7s. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. In short, it’s a great tournament to go to in order to watch tons of rugby, wear costumes, and spend a lot of money…. Maybe not so great on that last part to do. . .
Dubai 7s is the start of a 7s tournament series throughout the world. The first one is in Dubai, then Cape Town, off to Wellington and Sydney, then over to Vegas, Vancouver, London and Paris. I might have missed one in there. But the series goes on until about May I want to say. Lucky for me, Dubai 7s just seemed to work out great with my schedule and was basically on my way to Mozambique. And who doesn’t want to go check out a place that has a mile high building and a ski resort inside of a shopping mall? Or maybe the sand islands they are making in the shape of continents so they come together and look like a map of the world when you fly above it? Did I get to see any of that stuff? NO! I was too busy watching the rugby! (I did drive by the mile high building at least…)
It was 3 days of waking up early and going to check out rugby all day. And it wasn’t just about the National teams representing in the series. There were invitational teams and regular clubs playing on any one of the 8 fields dedicated just to rugby in Dubai, perhaps even one day being a Mozambican women’s and men’s team to represent. If I go back to Dubai, that is the reason why!
I was able to make some connections while I was there. I met the coach of the Kenyan women’s team, Mike Shamiah, whose first question was, “How can I help?” Awesome! He then also introduced me to some of his girls, and the progress they are making for women’s rugby in Kenya is great. One of the girls will be taking a coaching certification class here soon. Mozambique will hopefully be making its way up to Kenya for a tournament or two in the years to come!
In conclusion, Dubai was great. Rugby is awesome. And Mozambique is on it’s way!
Mozambique, here ADEDAR comes!
Back in March and April when I was in Mozambique, when I was meeting and networking with Mozambique and the schools there, I put out a time when I would be back in Mozambique. I told everybody I was returning in November. I was close to hitting that goal.
ADEDAR is returning to Mozambique 7 December, 2015! There is definitely still so much to do to make ADEDAR stick around: fundraising, applying for grants, getting equipment, making ADEDAR an NGO of Mozambique, getting the work permit and then residency, etc. I don’t think I need to go into all the details for you here, but you get the idea.
A friend just recently asked me two questions that made me think a lot: 1. What are you going to do as soon as you get into Mozambique for ADEDAR? 2. What is your goal by the time you come back to the states?
I am going to go right into getting the steps I need to do for ADEDAR, talk to the Ministry of Education, connect with the schools I worked with back in March and April, call my friends and contacts in Mozambique, and last but not least, GO DANCE!
My goal is that rugby becomes something in Mozambique, that ADEDAR is sustainable and rugby is spreading!
Rugby para todo! Dream big!
Thank you ATAVUS and Craft and Commerce
Fundraising is not an easy thing. Marketing ADEDAR has proven to not be easy also.But, this is mostly due to the fact that I am still learning about all that. ADEDAR has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, Instagram, and Youtube, all things I am still learning on how to use the best.
The best has been networking with people in the rugby community itself. I want to thank ATAVUS and Richie Walker for all the rugby balls, the jerseys, the water jug and bottles. Getting this donation was a great uplifter for me personally, and amazing for ADEDAR! Thank you, ATAVUS!
I also want to thank Craft and Commerce in San Diego, CA. They did a Happy to Help for ADEDAR, my first fundraiser raising over $1500 for ADEDAR! Thank you, Craft and Commerce, and Rachel Clark who got me connected with them in order to make it happen!
If you are interested in donating, sponsoring, holding a fundraiser with ADEDAR, I am all open ears and would be incredibly thankful!
15 Aug. 2015.
This summer has been long and hard and good. I worked this summer as a Naturalist at my old summer camp I was a counselor at years ago. It was nice to be the Naturalist. I led hikes, did outdoor cooking, roasted bisquits over a fire and filled them with strawberries and cream (Wompoms), built forts, made Yucca bracelets, taught knots (because why KNOT?), and occasionally made fires fom just wood on wood.
But the big thing for me over this summer was the being able to concentrate on ADEDAR and making it happen. I have hired a non-profit lawyer and ADEDAR is officially in the process of becoming a non-profit in the USA. With having a lawyer to do that paperwork, I have been able to concentrate more on fundraising.
I have been able to sew more items this summer, and even sold a whole bunch of my items just last week when I brought them out for a few friends to see. Mike, a good friend of camp, was up here, and even said to me, "I'm going to make you famous in LA!" I always love good people I meet.
Today is my last day at camp. The kids just left this morning. I am heading down to San Diego to work for Positive Adventures, an outdoor education company, for the next couple of months until the process of ADEDAR is complete and I can work out the visa/permit things of Mozambique. And to fundraise even more!
13 July 2015.
Oh, the memories...
It feels like yesterday I was in Mozambique teaching rugby around Maputo. I definitely miss it everyday and am still adjusting to being back in the US of A. It is nice to be back, but even nicer having the focus of making ADEDAR happen so I can go back and make more memories.
Some memories from my 2 months of rugby in Mozambique:
- "Teacher, 5 more minutes! 30 more seconds! We like to play!!"
- Exchanging dance lessons in the last 5 minutes of class
- Their own version of "Hakas" made on the spot
- Watching them as they just got it and it clicked!
- The smiles and the laughing
- The people seeing me with the rugby balls and saying they will come play!
- The people I met inside and outside of rugby
I can't wait until I can go back and do more. I can't wait for ADEDAR to be real and I can truly just concentrate on it as my life. And to make more memories!
A former student just recently told me he is waiting for my arrival back to Mozambique! So little to do and so much time. Wait. Stop that. Reverse. So much to do and so little time!
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I am actually doing this. How did I get here in my life? How did ADEDAR really become something?? There is not just one answer...not just 2 answers, but so many reasons why. It's a chain of events called my life, and I am so happy to have been able to see this door and have the courage to open it!
Of course, this couldn't have happened without the people in my life. So many good friends, an amazing family, a very supportive sister (even if she doesn't completely understand it), a mother and father who raised me to be strong and independent and passionate and to go after what I believe and want.
I lived in Mozambique in the Peace Corps from 2010 to 2012. I was able to return to Mozambique from February to April in 2015 to do a trial run of ADEDAR, something I have been dreaming about since I left Mozambique. Going back, trying out rugby and how the Mozambicans would like it and so on, was the best decision and opportunity I was able to take to make the dream of ADEDAR become a reality.
The plan for ADEDAR now is to spend my time in the United States of America doing what I need to do in order to make it an organization, work on getting funding, and in November, I will return to live in Mozambique, developing rugby.
Cheers to Rugby and Mozambique and making ADEDAR happen! Thank you to all that have supported me, are supporting me, or will support me in this endeavor! Peace and Love!