Thursday, January 18, 2007

Play Day... GAME TIME, WHOOP!!!

That’s right, Play Day. This past weekend 10 Volunteers, including me, got together in Imishli with an organization called Right to Play. We arrived Saturday morning for a brief training. Getting there should have been relatively simple, but it turned out to be a long and somewhat painful journey. On Tuesday or Wednesday we called to the bus station to see what our options were on getting there and found out there was a bus going to Ganja that went through Imishli and left on Saturday morning at 7 am. I wasn’t looking forward to getting up at 6 to get to the bus on time, but you do what you have to do. At least I wasn’t Ashley being woken up by Nana at 5:15 to eat some chicken. So we get on the bus a little after 6:30 and sit there. Then we sit a little longer. Some more people got on and they sat there while we sat there. We sat a little longer and then around 8:00 it seemed like we were finally leaving. The coolest part up to this point is that the guy across the aisle from me brought a duck on to the bus. A real live duck. It was in a plastic bag. The aisle was full of stuff, so the duck in the bag sat on the aisle right next to my feet. Some people had to climb to the seats in the back over all the stuff in the aisle and I think one of them kicked the duck in the head on accident. Once we started moving, the guy took his duck and moved farther back. After a little more sitting but finally moving, the guy who takes the money started yelling at two passengers and told the bus driver to pull over while he yelled at the passengers and threatened to kick them off. This went on for about ten minutes at which point we finally started moving again. Eventually we made it to Imishli but not after we got dropped off on the side of the road not knowing where we were and having to take a cab into the city who wanted to charge us way too much. While we thought we’d get there around 9:30 or 10 at the latest, we finally got there jut before noon. Luckily training didn’t start until 3.

Training wasn’t too bad or long and was mostly fun. Basically they told us about their organization and taught us some games, which was the fun part. Then we had an awesome dinner and all hung out and had a mini-party. On Sunday morning, we broke up into groups and headed out to the schools. Our school was set up for a refugee settlement. We received a very warm welcome by the school director and several students who came and gave brief speeches in English. You could tell they were nervous, but they did a good job. It was great to be welcomed so much and also tough to hear their story. But then came game time which was a blast.

Each volunteer had a group of about 15-20 kids and one of their teachers that we were assigned to. We weren’t really assigned, but more like walked up to a group and stood there waiting for further instructions. When we arrived, all the kids were lined up in a gymnasium in their groups just waiting for us. Since it was so nice outside, we all moved out there to have more space. I played Duck, Duck, Goose first. No one picked me to be the goose. I think they were all intimidated. Then we switched games and played a game called Snakes and Tails. The kids line up in two groups holding the person in front of them by the shoulders. They then chased each other around and try to catch the other “snake’s” tail and add to their own tale. This was fun and kind of mayhem. After that we played a game I think is called Mouse Trap. The teacher would pick five or so kids and the rest would form a circle and hold hands. She would say “Open” and we would raise our hands and the “mice” would run into the circle and try to get out before she would yell “Shut.” Any mouse caught in the circle had to join the circle. I think I caught two mice. The next game we played was similar to Duck, Duck, Goose, but instead the person would walk around the circle with a rag and drop it behind someone who would then have to try and tag the other person with the rag before they sat down in their spot. In this game, the kids kept picking me… and I dominated! I will admit though, I got a little winded. Man, I’m outa shape. We played this for a while and then I showed them the three-legged race which they really enjoyed, but we ran out of time. We only got to play for a little over an hour. Everyone had a great time.

Afterwards, we were invited inside for tea and sweets and we talked more with the director of the school. Once that was done, we all got back into the cars and got dropped off at a rest stop where we could catch a bus to Lankaran. All in all, it was a great weekend. I didn’t know many of the games we played or that other people played so I even got to learn, which we all know is neat. I’m not so sure what this weekend brings, but I’m sure it will be a good time. Ashley and I will either have a couple guests stay at my house where we will build forts and play games, or we will go to Baku, where we will probly build forts and play games. Either way, it’s guaranteed fun. One of the pictures is what I look like while screaming at one of the DVD’s of the Bears games that Steve has sent me so you all can imagine what I would look like if I were there to watch the game on Sunday and the other is me with my group of kids from Play Day. Enjoy!


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