Teach me to hula-hoop!
© UNICEF Mozambique/2012/C.Bach
At Bairro 3 da Cidade School in Chibuto, the children’s hulahooping skills are impressive. The bright, neon-coloured rings are so popular that the district invites students to showcase their talents at official events.
Grains of sand inside the hula-hoops create a
characteristic sound, which can be heard all over
Bairro 3 da Cidade. As soon as the bell rings for a
break, the children run out of their classrooms to
grab their favourite colour; the pink, yellow, green
and blue rings spread out over the schoolyard,
filling the air with a swooshing sound.
Tarcizia Narcizo Nguzi is 8 years old, and busy
hula-hooping. "I have already done it ten times
today!" she says, showing off how she can spin
the plastic ring around her waist, her arm, her neck
and her leg. "I will be a doctor when I grow up, and
I will tell my patients to play with hula-hoops! My
teacher says it is good for the body."
The school's physical education teacher, Jose
Carlos Manhica, incorporates hula-hoops daily into
his work. "We have received more than 50 of them
as part of our sports kit from the Child-Friendly
Schools initiative. They provide an easy and fun
means of activity for the children, and there are
many kinds of exercises one can do with them. For
our circumstances, it is perfect."
Director of Pedagogy Joana Francisco Cuna
says she is pleased with the physical education
and sport classes. "Children love to play, and it
keeps them healthy. Our school is always invited to present a show whenever there are events in the
district. We are very proud of the children, and of
our school," she says.
Both she and Mr. Manhica have noted that the
school has started to attract younger children since
the physical education and sport initiative started.
"Look at this boy, for example," Mr. Manhica says,
pointing to Eugenio Romeo Machava: "he started
coming here two years before beginning school!"
Eugenio smiles shyly. "It's true. I had friends here,
and I wanted to play with the hula-hoops. There
was no problem, I could be here and the students
taught me how to use the rings. I was really
looking forward to starting school."
This is exactly what Mr. Manhica wants to
highlight, because he has been a teacher at Bairro
3 da Cidade for 10 years, and has witnessed a
change. "We definitely have more children in the
schoolyard now than before. The younger children
come to play, and they even participate in the
physical education classes from a distance. What
is most important though is that they are getting
used to school and to being here. The colours of
the hula-hoops attract them, and they get to know
the older children. All of this greatly facilitates their
adjustment in the first months of school."
"And I can do it like this as well!" Tarcizia
shouts to us from a distance, hula-hooping with