It was with great excitement that we headed into the 2015 school year. This year marks the Perivoli Okonjima Country School’s fifth year, and with every passing year something new gets added to school and something new is achieved. In February 2015, the Perivoli Okonjima Country School entered its very first athletics season!
Since athletics began straight after our long summer holiday, the children and teachers immediately started working with vigour to improve their physical condition, strength and stamina (with one group achieving somewhat better results than the other!). A new long-jump pit and white running track lines across our small football field were a cause for great excitement and also an indication that this was about to get serious. After learning the rules and technicalities of some basic track and field events and three weeks of hard training and relevant ‘playing’, a team of 23 athletes was picked to represent the Perivoli Okonjima Country School at its first ever competition against two other schools in the nearby town of Otjiwarongo.
What a debut it was! Our eyes teared up and our hearts swelled with admiration as we applauded the students’ personal victories. Deep inside we were astounded by their performances in this organised and highly competitive environment, which contrasted so much with how they had trained for sprinting – with bare feet on a narrow two track dirt road winding between the thorn bushes close to their school, doing long jump from an old bent plank into a pit filled with river sand, and practising shot.
The local crowd also commented on how well our little school was performing and at the end of the trimester this group of children had experienced three competitions in new places and competed against thirteen other schools’ best athletes. They received many certificates of outstanding performance and at the last prestige event of the season, won seven medals and broke two records! What a privilege to give our Perivoli Okonjima students these experiences and we believe they gained so much confidence, amid many other positive qualities, to prepare them for an exciting future.
This very important part of our educational program continued as one of the extra-curricular programs in the afternoons. One of the recent projects was re-using and recycling and this included preparing numerous containers and placing them at the different lodges to collect all kinds of food and drinks packaging.
These in turn could be re-used for art and crafts assignments throughout the rest of the year. This particular environmental project coincided with Namibia’s Independence Day. A school celebration day with lots of fun activities was planned and in preparation for the occasion, all the different grades had to use some of the recyclable materials to finish ‘their’ designated part of the national flag. The end result was a painted egg-carton model with a few other waste products finishing off the finer details.
The day was a roaring success with lots of fun competitions between our two teams: the Leopards and the Cheetahs. The local DJ also assisted with the last part of the day, which featured line dancing and some sort of new dance invented by the little ones. It was quite an event!