Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kick4Life Energizer at Lesotho High School

**The picture is a lot clearer if you go to the youtube site. The link is

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More energizers and Red Card Skits

First off, I think I should better explain what an intervention is. I have mentioned it in earlier blog posts but I don't think I have gone into much detail about it. Interventions are the bulk of what Kick4Life does. Since I have been with Kick4Life we have run interventions at Primary and High Schools, as well as, at a juvenile detention centre and at the kick4Life field with street children and volunteers. Local Basotho coaches run all of the interventions and they are delivered in Sesotho.

An intervention is a series of 10, one hour long practices. Each practice starts with an energizer, a re-cap of last practice and a game of agree-disagree, where participants are given a statement, usually about HIV or gender relations in Lesotho and are asked to form two groups (agree and disagree). After the groups are formed participants will debate for a few minutes about the statements. After that a large portion of the practice is spent on the activity. Find the Ball, HIV Attacks, HIV Transmission Tree, Red Card and Choices are a few of the names. I'm am trying to upload a video of a Red Card skit which happens in the last practice. The class will break off into small groups and be given a scenario that contains risky behaviour (ie. behaviour that would put one at risk for contracting HIV). Each participant is given a Red Card and while the group is acting out their scenario the group is asked to hold up their Red Cards when they see this behaviour. Its a fun activity to watch because even though we always give the same scenarios out, the kids usually come up with something creative.

At the end of the intervention, if a participant has successfully completed 7 out of 10 practices they are considered a Kick4Life graduate. We hold small graduations ceremonies and hand out certificates to those kids who graduated. At the ceremony some coaches will perform raps or dances and participants are encouraged to perform as well. I have uploaded a video of one young boy performing a poem that he wrote. I particularly like this video because at the beginning he struggles to remember his lines and looks extremely shaky. However, as the video goes on you will see the encouragement that the coaches and other students are giving him. One of the things that we preach at Kick4Life is creating a safe space for kids to feel free to be open and honest. You can hear snaps in the background which is our way of agreeing, congratulating or encouraging someone.

I hope that you enjoy these videos! (I can't upload them directly onto Blogger so I am in the process of putting them on youtube and will post the like) As I write this I am sitting in the airport in Johannesburg waiting to fly out to Tanzania for Christmas vacation. I'm heading back to Morogoro tomorrow morning, which is where I stayed when I was in Tanzania two years ago. I can't wait to see all the youth again from the programming that I did.

I know I say it every time but I really can't believe how fast time is going. I only have 8 months remaining in my internship and while that may seem long for some of you, it doesn't seem long enough for me. This past month I have really started to feel like Lesotho is home for me. The first few months were extremely challenging and it is so refreshing to feel at ease now. I have stopped looking at the calendar to see how long I have and am now thinking about how I can stay longer. I have a lot more to share with you, including the ground-breaking ceremony for our Football for Hope Centre, a week-long road trip to Cape Town (which is one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to), numerous street league tournaments and test your team events and a week long, very eye-opening visit to a regional hospital in Bloemfontain with one of our coaches who broke his arm. It ended in something like 13 screws and two metal rods being implanted in his arm. I will take a photo of his x-ray post surgery and post it up here for you.

I hope everyone is having a lovely festive season. It feels a little strange here because I will be in the grocery store in shorts and a t-shirt sweating while they are playing Jingle Bells. Doesn't quite feel like Christmas but it's fun anyways.

Keep checking back!
Kea Leboha,
Sala Hantle

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Kids playing outside a school in Malealea, Lesotho.

Our "tour guides" at the Kome Caves", Lesotho. You can see the caves in the background.

Thanksgiving dinner this year. Beer Butt chicken and sweet potatoes with marshmellows.

Some of the crowd at a Kick4Life 'Test Your Team' event in Fobane, Lesotho. This was a partner event with a Peace Corp volunteer who works at the school where the event was held.

Stay tuned...there are many more to come.

A Lot to be Thankful For...

A few months ago the expat community here in Maseru received an email from an Australian Human Rights Lawyer asking for volunteers to tutor English to a group of Rwandan and Congolese refugees. I jumped at the chance to be involved with this project for a number of reasons. Mostly I thought it would be a neat experience, a way to meet new people and a good way to spend some of my free time after work. In the past few years I have become particularly interested in Rwanda and the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I spent a little bit of time in Rwanda in 2008 and was immediately drawn into its intensity and history. Well I guess it is not really so historic, as much of the conflict that was in Rwanda in 1994 has shifted to the Eastern Congo. I am sure that many of you are aware of some of the disturbing statistics from the genocide in Rwanda, the worst being approximately one million people killed in a mere 100 days.

So I have been tutoring a woman from Southern Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. South Kivu is the epicenter of the conflict. A lot of the time after we finish our English lesson she will tell me bits and pieces of what it is like there and how she and her family came to live in Lesotho. Her husband is Tutsi and so his life was being threatened in the DRC. He ran from home one day without his family because it wasn’t safe for him at home anymore. She ran at some point in 2006 with her son and her unborn baby girl. Her baby girl was born while she was on the run in Burundi. They lived in South Africa for two years near Johannesburg, however recently there have been a number of xenophobic attacks. Their neighbour, who was from Mozambique, was murdered, so the following day they ran for Lesotho where they have been living for the past 2 years. She and her husband are wonderful people and have three children, only two of which were able to come with them to Lesotho. The third child, a girl, lives with one of their sisters in the DRC. As it turns out, when she ran back in 2006, she didn’t have enough transport money to go and pick her daughter up from school, and was in so much danger that she had to leave without her. She told me one night with tears in her eyes that she hadn’t heard from her daughter, who is only 9 years old, in three months and had no idea where she was. Keep in mind that the DRC is currently considered the rape capital of the world.

Initially when I started tutoring we were working out of the Refugee Camp here in Maseru, however, since then the family has been kicked out of the camp because they were told that they have been bringing the white people around and therefore can afford to live on their own. In my three months here I have seen little to no logic on a lot of issues. So, the family has been moved to another part of town and I have no idea what the situation is now with payment for the house or anything. Here in Lesotho, refugees receive a small monthly stipend, which is more than most health care workers who are Basotho receive every month. And because of this many local people resent refugees and really don’t want them here.

A couple of weeks ago, on Canadian Thanksgiving I went to their new house to tutor. I arrived to find that their current situation is far worse than it was in the refugee camp. Their small one room house (approx. the size of my bedroom) has a large hole in the roof and because we are in rainy season it leaks heavily. They have no running water, no toilet, no electricity, their window doesn’t close and worst of all they told me that they are afraid living there because they feel threatened by their neighbours. The four members of the family, mom, dad and the two young children all sleep in one bed behind a curtain.

I came home that night to a warm house, and had a nice meal with my roommate. It is times like this that I am truly thankful for the life that I have been given. I come from a country where I feel safe everyday, where I have two parents with jobs, friends that I can trust, access to education, and endless opportunity. This Thanksgiving I had a lot to be thankful for…

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lesotho According to the CIA World Fact Book…

Country: Lesotho

People: Basotho

Language: Sesotho

Location: Southern Africa, an enclave of South Africa

Total Area: 30,355 sq km

Climate: temperate; cool to cold, dry winters; hot, wet summers

Natural Resources: water, agriculture and grazing land, diamonds, sand, clay, building stones

Population: 2,130,819

Infant Mortality Rate (IMR): 77.4/1,000 live births

Life Expectancy at Birth: 40 years

HIV Prevalence rate: 23.3% (in other words, 1 in 4 people are positive. And from what I’ve heard this may be a conservative estimate)

Unemployment Rate: 45%

Population below poverty line: 49%

Transnational Issues or International Disputes: None


Energizers are a BIG part of Kick4Life programming. They are usually done at the beginning of practices to get kids laughing and excited about K4L. This is one of the most popular and if you spend any time at an intervention or at the Kick4Life pitch with the coaches you will most definitely "ride a pony".

The guy leading this energizer is Saby. He is one of our most dedicated and talented coaches. A real character. Right now we have 20 coaches who are trained in the Kick4Life 2.0 curriculum, which is the newest version of our curriculum. They are all volunteers and most work running interventions or at the office 2-4 hours a day. They receive small stipends for transportation and running interventions. They are an amazing group of people, both men and women, and I feel so lucky to be able to work with them. They bring a lot of energy to the organization and it has been really great/funny getting to know them all.

Lumela (Pronounced Dumela) from the Kingdom

First off I apologize for taking so long to get going on my blog. Time seems to fly by here and before I knew it two months were gone. Before I get into any of the happenings of my life here I want to give you all a quick introduction to Grassroot Soccer and Kick4Life. Technically I am a Grassroot Soccer Intern, however, I live in Lesotho and will be working with GRS’s implementing partner here, Kick4Life. Kick4Life has a similar mission statement to Grassroot Soccer but is a much newer and smaller organization. Kick4Life was founded in 2005 and have since focused their efforts in Lesotho in southern Africa, delivering a range of programmes focused on tackling HIV by providing sports-based health education, voluntary testing, life-skills development and support into education and employment. Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world and hundreds of thousands of children have been orphaned by the disease.

I will try not to overwhelm you with information and stories right away. I do have a lot to share and it is difficult to know where to start. My first two months here have been amazing and tough all at the same time. I think this is the first time that I have truly experienced culture shock and it's only now after two months that I am beginning to feel settled. I have already learned a great deal and am really looking forward to what this year will bring for me. I want to thank everyone who has supported me on this journey. I would absolutely not be here without all of you. I will do my best to keep my blog as up to date as possible. It will be a variety of stories, thoughts, videos, links....really just a place for me get my thoughts and experiences into writing. I'm going to break up the first few posts with some photos and videos so it's not too text heavy. I hope you enjoy it!

Stay tuned...