Day 11: Ministry of Sport and Culture

Some of our group enjoying lunch with KICS students after P.E.
(Vinny Mihota, Matt Dudon, and Yosuah Nijman).

“1..2..3..HOKIES!”

We are quite the spectacle, a group of 15 people juggling a mix of footballs, basketballs, and soccer balls, laughing and talking about the P.E. class that awaits us as we walk to KICS. We continue to walk into the KICS P.E. space, now familiar with the concrete court that is set in the middle of the school’s courtyard. Each group set up with a large collection of cones, and even made time for a couple games of knock-out.

We were greeted with the excited faces of 20 fifth graders and 15 third graders, ready to start a class full of futbol, basketball, and American football. The determined faces of children full of giggles could be seen even in the warm-up. The students transitioned to futbol where they were able to work on passing and footwork. Next, they were greeted by the American football group who had them practice different techniques running with the football. Their energy was still up as they ran to basketball, learning dribbling, passing, and of course, finished it off with an intense game of knock-out. Clapping and loud cheers could be heard, as two children would battle it out to become the next knock-out champ.

After a delicious lunch at KICS that consisted of tacos(!!) we headed to the hotel to get ready for MINISPOC, The Rwanda Ministry of Sport and Culture. We arrived at the green, yellow, and blue-colored stadium that was busy with people cutting the infield grass and running laps around the track. We met with Emmanuel who briefly spoke with us about MINISPOC’s role in relation to sport and development. After the genocide, where brothers were killing brothers, sports played a big role in Rwanda by bringing people together. Recently, the Peace Marathon was held close to our hotel, but what we didn’t realize as we all watched, being thankful we were not running 26.2 miles through the “Land of a Thousand Hills”, was that MINISPOC was a large partner of this marathon. Emmanuel went on to explain that this is the first and only marathon in the world dedicated to peace. Additionally, peace is promoted by blocking the roads the first Sunday of each month so that people can walk and bike everywhere. This promotes not only a healthy lifestyle but also community with each other. It was clear that MINISPOC is much more than an organization, it’s an avenue where people can spread messages about development.

It was a wonderful way to spend our last full day, soaking up the last pieces of Rwanda by eating too many croissants and nutella, running around the many hills and enjoying the incredible children, and sharing our love of sports.

-Emily Mertes

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