By Nyasha Matavire (Director, CLUBHOUSE Zimbabwe)

On 19 July, 2013 at 10 am, Sheni Primary school was set alight with the CLUBHOUSE festival, an event that had taken months of planning and hard work. This day was just the culmination of various activities that had been happening for months leading to that day. Our own CLUBHOUSE kids had been taking part in various community service activities and they visited clinics, old peoples homes and sometimes senior citizens’ homes to render any form of help that was needed there, we received some glowing feedback from these institutions and they expressed their gratitude and amazement at how, in these times, we can still see young children who are willing to serve the sick and the elderly and how they were not doing it out of a sense of duty but were also happy and pleased with themselves too.

The event started with an opening prayer by Mr Mutogo of Rujeko primary school and soon it was time for the introductions with representatives from both schools, the schools heads, SDA representatives from both schools and CLUBHOUSE were also introduced. It was then time for the Mr Godo, a veteran educationist who is a former headmaster at both Sheni and Rujeko Primary schools and also our CLUBHOUSE representative and patron, to take to the front to give his speech and he encouraged school kids to study hard and to stay out of trouble. He also urged the teams that were going to take part in the game to take this opportunity to shine.

Mr Godo then introduced the executive director of CLUBHOUSE Zimbabwe, Mr Matavire who gave a brief narration of what CLUBHOUSE is all about and the whole team behind this cause. He explained how CLUBHOUSE differs from all the other organisations in that it does not just seek to only meet the material needs of children in impoverished communities, he said this organisation is all about developing children into responsible adults and leaders of tomorrow by using sports and community service activities to put them together, he further explained how community service is important because it encourages kids to grow up with a sense of responsibility knowing that they are the answers to the problems facing their communities. If a child grows up with a culture of fixing minor problems in his/her community that would have normally not been his/her problem, that child will grow into an adult who doesn’t wait for NGOs or the government to develop their communities but will take proactive roles in society.

Soon after Mr Matavire’s speech Mr Godo came back to the podium and declared the 2013 CLUBHOUSE festival as officially open.

After that it was time to meet the teams as the officials were introduced to all the players that were present and after all the formalities were done it was time for the match between the hosts Sheni Primary and visitors Rujeko. It was a very electrifying game and Rujeko having been exposed to the pressure of the Sheni crown, suffered a 6 goal thrushing, they did however put up a strong fight and had it not been for the Sheni goalkeeper who was just too brilliant on the day, the scoreline could have been much much different. At half time the players were treated to some oranges.

After the game it was time to acknowledge the participants and Sheni won two soccer balls with Rujeko getting one ball. The Sheni school goalkeeper won the man of the match award and he walked away with a soccer ball.

The Rujeko school head, Mrs Nyatoti then came and gave a speech and she appreciated the work that had been done by the organizing team and her counterpart, Mr Mlambo, the Sheni school head in organizing such a great event. She thanked CLUBHOUSE for all they are doing for the community of Dangamvura and urged them to continue with the great work. She ended her speech by pledging to host next year’s edition of the CLUBHOUSE festival at Rujeko Primary school.

There was going to be a presentation of CLUBHOUSE certificates to children who had taken part in various community service programs during the build up to the festival but that was postponed to the following Monday and Tuesday at Rujeko and Sheni assemblies respectively. This was on account of the light drizzles that were beginning to fall.

Before going for lunch, the delegates were given a few moments to mix and mingle and exciting discussions about how CLUBHOUSE can best work with the schools and the community at large took place and it was encouraging to see the levels of support from the schools heads, the SDA committees and the teachers in general. Ideas began to creep in about how the CLUBHOUSE sports academy could be run and both schools, through their sports masters, pledged their support.

We then went for our lunch, which comprised of rice, chicken stew, French fries and grilled sausages. CLUBHOUSE kids and the soccer players were also treated to beef and chicken pies and some juice(cascades). It was such a merry atmosphere that one could have mistaken it for some teacher’s retirement party or something.

The vote of thanks was given by a representative of the Sheni Primary School Development Association (S.D.A) who thanked everyone who had taken part in this event including the school heads, sports masters and the teachers and coaches. She also thanked CLUBHOUSE international for their work and also for the fact that they did not rush back to where they came from soon after the games, but they took the time to relax, dine and hWALKING THE BRIDGE (PT 2): THE CLUBHOUSE FESTIVALave fun with their hosts. She then gave a closing prayer.

This marked the end of a great day.

The inaugural festival marks the beginning of a fantastic tradition, and we look forward to its growth in the future!

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