Your shadowy B from K&B is back, reporting directly from last week’s Space Games at Amani Centre. Nothing like some over-excited, space-mad kids to get you, dear readers, into the Christmas spirit…
Day 1 – From Moshi to the Moon in 5 days
Monday, 10th December 2012, marked the beginning of the much-anticipated Space Games at Amani Centre. A group of 20 remaining kids – the rest either left to visit relatives for Christmas or – in Amani lingo – had just gotten their ‘ding-dongs schnip-schnipped’ (in other words, circumcised) and were out of action – with hitherto limited knowledge about most things ‘space’, listened intently as all those unbelievable facts (e.g. the Earth could fit into the sun a million times) were revealed to them. Huddled together in the library-cum-movie-theater they formed into four teams that would battle it out in a Race To The Moon: Champion, The Fox, Tiger, and Jetfighter.
Day 2 – Astronaut Training
Jay, Amani’s resident expert (previous job: training astronauts for spacewalks at NASA – no joke!), kicked off the proceedings by talking the aspiring African astronauts through a video presentation about life in space. Aside from delivering the inside scoop on the International Space Station, he demonstrated some important astronaut training units. The theory was then put into practice as the space cadets’ lung capacity (by blowing bubbles through a straw into a water bottle), G-Force resistance (swinging their partners into dizziness), and jumping skills (important for escaping potential aliens) were tested.
Day 3 –Rockets & Asteroids
After some shocking videos about failed rocket launches and asteroids hitting Earth (the kids kept asking if those scenes from ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Deep Impact’ were real, hypothesizing that Tanzania would probably not be spared), it was time for Amani’s own rocket experiment involving plastic bottles, vinegar, baking soda, and some other highly explosive ingredients. Team ‘Champion’ pulled ahead in the Race To The Moon as its rocket shot to an impressive eight meters. But ‘The Fox’ caught up in the subsequent Dodgeball tournament (designed to train the kids in avoiding meteorites), which turned into absolute mayhem in the cleared-out dining hall.
Day 4 – Moon Buggies & Rocks
The Amani equivalent of driving buggies on the moon? A scooter race on the basketball court, of course. Although Team ‘Jetfighter’ put up a good battle, ‘The Fox’ ultimately persevered and won the full five points, moving their cardboard rocket a little closer to the Moon on the library wall. The afternoon then gave the kids a chance to relax while watching ‘Wall-E’ (space themed Pixar animation) and munching on some well-deserved popcorn in our improvised movie theater. Before wrapping up the day’s activities, the teams spread out all over Amani’s premises in a hunt for 40 hidden ‘moon rocks’. The winner? You guessed it, ‘The Fox’!
Day 5 – Shuttle Landing, Space Grub & Awards Ceremony
Day five meant returning to Earth in the smoothest way possible (as well as gobbling up some tasty space snacks with lunch). This was symbolized rather dramatically by the cadets jumping and sliding their way over a long plastic sheet loaded with water and soap. Before the first jump, the kids scrutinized the ground for any stones that may pose a security hazard. The prudent approach was quickly dropped in favor of some all-out-street-kid-water-slide-crashes. In the end only one winner could emerge: The Fox’ 29 points were enough to bag the Space Games’ first place and the grand prize of potato crisps and sparkly jump ropes that comes with that kind of success.