Day 6: Right to Play and Pick-up Kickball

Our group outside of Right to Play in Kigali.

Dr. Gary Bennett up to kick during a pick-up game of kickball with KICS students after school let out.

Emily Mertes and Yosh Nijman talking to a young boy outside of KICS.

The day started with normal breakfast at 8:00am. Vinny, Joseph, and I ate with Desiree and talked about her trip from Florida to Kigali. Then, we all went back to our rooms to change so that we could leave by 9:30 to visit Right to Play. The hotel tried to get all 16 of us into one van…thankfully we were able to quit our life-sized game of Tetris when they brought us a second car.

A quick drive through Kigali brought us to the gates of Right to Play (RTP) Rwanda. We were greeted by Valens and another RTP Rwanda director. The pair took us through an example of a normal RTP workout: stretching and then a game of Dragon and Hunter. The director asked us to relate the actions taken to protect the dragon to real lessons in our lives, giving us just a taste of how RTP uses sport to develop life skills. Valens then took us inside and talked to us about RTP’s founding and their mission today. The thing that I find most amazing about RTP is how they have progressed over time to continually have a real impact both in local communities and at the policy level. However, Valens noted the organization’s need for quality research supporting the positive impact on sports and youth development and the progress that still needs to be made regarding gender equality in sports, showing how there will always be more work to do in the sports for development world.

After lunch and a drive back to the hotel, a few of us walked over to the green space outside of KICS to play kickball. A few innings in, the kids got released from school and all wanted to play with us! It was such a cool experience to interact with the children in a laid-back, easy manner over a mutual love of sport and athletics. Meeting the kids in this unexpected way made us all so excited to work with them again in the P.E. classes next week, and I hope the kids are looking forward to it too!

-Logan Williams

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