Spreading the spirit of sports: “our secret to success is that we like to play together”
“Football, handball, relay race, long jump, sprint, hula hoop, ‘Tag and Chase’, rope jumping…” Maria Mondlane finds herself quite out-of-breath when listing the activities she and her friends usually practice at the Physical Education and sports classes.
Maria is one of the 12-year-old 6th grade students at Escola Primaria de Bairro 3 da Cidade primary school in Chibuto, Gaza, who never skips PE classes. “We also play “ntchuva”, “neca”, “makuaela” and “linha” during the recesses,” she explains, listing some of the local traditional games and dances. “Makuaela is more for boys, however,” she adds.
Maria’s own favourite is football. She plays in the school’s football team and participates in the afternoon trainings during weekdays. Her coach is a great inspiration to her: “she explains everything so well.” In the mornings, her coach also teaches PE at the school. “At the PE class we do different exercises. In the afternoon, we play,” explains Maria.
The only day when Maria cannot come to practice is Saturday: she has to help her mother at the “machamba”, the family field. Being the oldest of her three sisters, she needs to take on some responsibilities in the family. Maria’s father left years ago to work in South-Africa and even though he comes back regularly to visit the family, Maria’s mother has the main responsibility of providing subsistence on a day-to-day basis.
Maria’s football team has already twice won the school games championship. “We like to play together,” she says, explaining the secret to their success. “The best thing is winning. It makes us so happy. Every time we win we sing and dance and laugh a lot.”
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