Thank You From Kenya
How the simplicity of discs brings kids together.
Frank Huffer spent the last 2 months in Kenya, bringing with him three discs. This is a story of how three discs were able to inspire togetherness, Spirit of the Game, and introduced a new sport to a smaller community.
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Thank you Frank for taking the time to write this. Keep striving to be #OnlyTheBest
Firstly a huge thank you to VC Ultimate for sponsoring Namuncha school with 3 beginner discs. They were put through rigorous testing and would be seen every evening whizzing through the air with 40 odd students rampaging and shrieking in excitement whilst chasing after them.
Namuncha Primary School is a 600 pupil facility based in a predominantly Maasai community around 100km NE of Nairobi, Kenya. They also have a 100 pupil secondary school within close proximity of the primary.
The remoteness of the school and the very poor community it serves means access to luxuries such as sports equipment and stationary is rare. With the donated discs, I created a sports bag which I took with me to the school and the pupils made the most of every moment playing.
Frank's sports bag he brought to Kenya. Things we take for granted can make a huge change for others.
So why take ultimate to Kenya? In my final year at university I discovered for myself the joys of ultimate. For a variety of reasons other societies did not hold my interest in previous years and I never felt like I belonged. The game and the manner in which it is played encapsulated me and I was desperate to challenge myself with taking such a fun sport and teaching it to others. A candle loses nothing by lighting another and that was my goal, to spread the enjoyment this sport brings both in the physical game, the surround mini-games and the spirit of play.
The environment proved very harsh for playing ultimate. The dusty soils teaming with sharp rocks soon took their toll on all the equipment. The wind, Namuncha is based in the rift valley that runs the length of Kenya and is subject to a reliably constant high afternoon wind, also made teaching the basics of the game very difficult. Discs often found their way onto the roofs and trees of the school after being stolen by the wind. These were quickly rescued by sending a child up to retrieve them or using long poles to poke the discs free.
Some of the students getting comfortable with the discs in Kenya.
Despite some children showing some jaw-dropping forehand and backhand throws with very little guidance from me, ultimate is a brand-new concept to them. Most began by calling the discs 'plates', in fact sometimes I caught them using them to eat lunch with, and whilst mostly we used them to play a quite frankly scary game of frisbee dodgeball, the children discovered new ways in which to use the equipment. From a tennis racket, to the steering wheel of a play car, the versatility of the discs provided hours of entertainment for all of the ages found at the school.
You can't tell us this wasn't a 70-yard flick bomb.
At the heart of the game is its spirit. I quickly discovered that playing together is not something the children are used to. With a minimal to nonexistent supply of sports stuff, the children would be desperate to have, and hold onto what they could. Just having these amazing things in their possession made them feel so special.
This was my main focus throughout my two months. I worked on cracking the hogging of discs and by the end the children were playing together and ensuring anyone who wanted to play was involved. The spirit of the game was the togetherness and inclusiveness that ultimate can bring for anyone. Even the teachers were fascinated and soon became involved in the games as well.
I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at VC Ultimate who helped with providing the school with some equipment, and more importantly children with hours of laughter. Even three discs made a huge impact on these young athletes. You have created smiles and some very happy memories for those with very little.
Here is more on the charity and school: