Monday, December 31, 2012

Rural Zambian Competition (Scott's Post)

Earlier in December Gina and I helped out one day with a camp for young women called "Camp Glow".  It is designed to empower young women in Zambia through health education and providing opportunities to do things they may not typically do that can promote a sense of self-esteem and worth.  Every province in Zambia that has a Peace Corps presence sponsors these week-long camps.  One of the activities was a relay race with about 7 different stages where girls did everything from a three-legged race to singing the national anthem while gargling water.  They were explained the rules in English and their local language, but the concept of a relay race, American style, was apparently not in their realm of experience.  Instead of finishing a particular leg and continuing to the next with a different member of their team as fast as their team could go, the girls wanted to do each leg as a separate race.  That is, when they finished a leg of the race, the winners waited and watched as the other members of opposing teams reached the end of that particular leg.  What resulted was a mass of girls together during each leg of the race instead of a steady thinning out of the racers along the course.  The girls were apparently so excited to be part of this unique event they didn't want to miss out on seeing their friends perform each leg of the race, all the while laughing and cheering each other on.  At the end there was one young woman who complained that there were so many people around the "station" of one of the legs of the race she couldn't get to start her leg in a timely manner.  In America it would have been a valid complaint because it hindered her from performing her best.  But there in the middle of a worn out soccer field among a gaggle of giggling girls she was looked upon as a sore loser.  In America the rules would have been followed closely so that the competition could be completed to show who was the best, but in Zambia the rules were loosely regarded in favor of doing the competition together as a group.

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