October 24, 2010
Anne Heyman, ASYV-Founder, is currently visiting the village. The following blog is written by Anne about a day in the village:
Once again I find myself at the Village, where the school year is winding down. The kids are beginning to study for finals which start next week and we have the bitter sweet end of the tenure of one Village Director and the start of another. There is, as always, much work to be done, but then there is the pure job of seeing, being with and interacting with the kids. The highlight of my day today was the “chess final” after dinner. For the last month there has been a chess tournament in the village. First each of the houses had an intra-house tournament, then the houses in each grade played each other, then the final was between the winner in the first grade (the newer kids) and the winner in the second grade (the older kids). I was thrilled that the winner from the first grade was a girl; totally awesome. I am so proud of her. The tournament started at 8:30 and was very well attended – I think almost all of the kids in the Village were there. It was actually quite surreal. On the stage in the dining hall there was a table set with a table cloth, a chess set, two glasses of water and two stop watches. The kids who were playing came to the table, along with their “timers”. As they stepped up to their stools they were cheered like rock stars. (the whole time they were preparing to get started a slide show of the chess games leading up to this final game was being shown to music). There was tremendous energy in the room, and as each player made a move their respective cheering section would hoot and holler. In the end the young man from the second year was triumphant. It was not really a surprise to learn that he had played his first game of chess 6 weeks before. Most of the kids at the village had not seen or played chess before, but many practiced sometimes twice a day, and my understanding is that there are some players who are very very good. These kids never fail to amaze with what they are capable of learning and doing and their motivation is something that really has to be seen to be believed.
Just one of the many reasons that it is always a treat to be at Agahozo-Shalom