Yet another beautiful day in Moshi, Tanzania…. Every morning this week has been cool and clear – and in fact everything is so dry we could really do with a bit of rain.  The day quickly warms up (although only to low 30’s so is not unbearable) and later in the day the wind has also been picking up – generating plenty of dust – which is very dry, a bit uncomfortable and settles onto everything….

Today we got to put into practice the training we provided to Mandela, Azimio and Kalolemi schools and see how they perform in the sports day. The stakes are high… not just the honour and prestige of winning against the other schools – but also for the Australia/Tanzania Athletics Shield (currently held by Mandela).

We gathered at the “sports oval”…. a shared block of dirt that is used by the whole community (mostly as a thoroughfare from one area to another), but in the background, looming from the earth, and overlooking everything is the majestic Kilimanjaro.

The pressure is on the group I belong to as we have been training the Mandela school – who traditionally always win.  We kick off events with a War Cry Competition (won by Kalolemi, with an exuberant rendition of “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”)…. and the fun begins.

The day ran surprisingly smoothly – with events such as sprints, relays (including some novelty events involving stuffed toys, caps, beach towels, surfboards and even thongs).  The Mzungus (us) and teachers also had an opportunity to participate.  Despite the hot, dry dusty conditions, there was great enthusiasm throughout – with sporadic and exuberant outbursts of cheering and war crys…. and (increasingly as the day progressed), “whole of school” pitch invasions (often involving cartwheels, acrobatics and throwing handfulls of dust in celebration – as if it wasn’t dusty enough) whenever any school won an event….

Finally after a very successfully run day, the winner (despite suggestions of cheating and corruption) was (thank goodness) Mandela – leading by a convincing 46 points – with just 1 point separating Azimio and Kalolemi for 2nd and third.