Dutch P.E. teachers are welcomed to Umbrella
On Sunday the 10th of June, the children of the Umbrella Foundation welcomed two very special guests to Kathmandu. Jost and Kevin, from Rotterdam, are professional fitness trainers and specialise in organizing sports activities with children. Jost’s background is in teaching physical education to mentally and physically disabled children in his native Holland, while Kevin has travelled worldwide, organizing sports and games in orphanages from Africa to East Asia. Following their trek through the Himalayas to Tibet, Jost and Kevin spent two days with the Umbrella Foundation and were given a wonderful welcome from the children.
On their arrival, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a monsoon cloud in sight. The playground of Sagarmatha house was filled with smiling children, eagerly anticipating an afternoon of fun and games. When their Dutch guests entered with a large bag of footballs, basketballs and volleyballs, you can only imagine the chaos that ensued. The two were set upon by crowds of thrilled kids and even the Umbrella Volunteers struggled to call them to order, such was the excitement! When it came to organizing the children into groups, the volunteers also served a useful purpose in interpreting the thick Dutch accents so that the children could understand the rules of each game. We started off with a straightforward contest of dodge-ball which encouraged the children to work as a team, though some of the boys perhaps were guilty of throwing the balls a little too vigorously!
Next was a more complex Dutch game which Jost and Kevin introduced to the children for the first time. Running around in a very large circle, the children would perform a variety of different actions at Kevin’s command. These included twirling around, dancing and quickly congregating into small groups. This proved challenging at first but was very enjoyable, and the kids have promised to adopt this game and play it again. Finally, the piece-de-resistance was a game of ‘cat and mouse’ in which a team of ‘cats’ protected their highly-coveted ‘cheese’ from the opposing team of ‘mice’. This was undoubtedly the most fun activity of the day, even Umbrella directors Conor and Macartan were tempted into a game!
On day two the children, although tired from their long day at school, welcomed Jost and Kevin with the same enthusiasm as before, hoping for new games and even more fun. A warm-up game of ‘cat and mouse’ was good preparation for ‘keep ball’ in which the kids would work as a team to accumulate as many passes of a ball as possible without the opposing team stealing possession. This was great fun but paled in comparison to the excitement of the next game – the water balloon relay race! Jost and Kevin had spent all day walking through the stalls of Kathmandu searching for water balloons and finally found some after many hours. However it was worth it to see the joy on the kid’s faces – even when they were being soaked! This was the perfect end to two days of great fun. The children said a big thank you to Jost and Kevin who then surprised us all with a wonderful donation of new sports equipment – footballs, volleyballs, badminton rackets, skipping ropes etc. – for the children. For giving up their time to organize activities with the children and for their very generous contribution (good quality sports equipment is in short supply at Umbrella), a huge thank you must go to Jost and Kevin and to all of their sponsors back in the Netherlands. Dhanyabad!