One of our first trips we took as a family when we moved to Doha was to Tanzania. The muppets were five, three and two and everyone thought we were insane travelling with them to such a place. Not only was it something my husband and I had aways dreamed of doing but my very good friend was getting married there. When we started to work out the logistics of traveling to an unknown place with three muppets under five we were both a little nervous. But we both knew that this was a once in a life time chance and it is one of our families favorite adventures. Not only did we make some amazing memories but we were able to meet some amazing people and see life in Africa from a completely different perspective.
Our good friends who’s wedding we attended on our trip have worked together with the surrounding community to build a school for the young children of the Mlimani Park village this past year. The boys and I were able to visit one of the schools while we were there and the oldest still remembers being shocked that there were no toys, computers and no playground for the students to play on.
A few months ago I showed the boys the video our friend had made talking about the school the three of them were happy and excited for the children of the village. I told the Muppets the Auntie L and Uncle L were trying to raise money to build a playground for the kids of the village. The middle Muppet thought that it would be a great idea to hold a bake sale or something to help them.
At the Muppets school they teach the students to be positive active global citizens. The younger grades participate in service projects as a grade level and are actively involved in the process of advertising for their event, collecting or selling items and learning about who or what they are raising the money for. In the higher grades the students are encouraged to create their own service projects. There are always kids organizing bake sales, used book sales or selling loom bands to raise money for one cause or another.
The middle Muppet was keen to run his own bake sale to raise money for the playground but I reminded him that in Lower Elementary he wasn’t able to do his own service project. I asked the oldest if he would be interested in doing something like a bake sale to raise money for the playground. He looked at me disinterested,”You know Mum” he started “Me and my friends we don’t really do the bake sale thing, we just like to play soccer and stuff” I told him that I understood giving up a recess or two would be a sacrifice for him but then I said “Just think of how proud you will be this Summer when you can tell Uncle L about the money you raised for the playground” (I know guilt trip right!) He told me he would think about it but the reluctance in his voice made me decide not to push him too hard.
The following week at school I presented the idea of raising money for the playground to some of the leadership team at the school. Everyone was very excited and we decided to plan a hotdog sale to help raise some funds. A colleague of mine has a son in the same grade as the oldest and she suggested that the boys do something together with some friends to help raise money as well. I told her about my conversation with the oldest and we decided to leave it in the boys hands and see what unfolded.
A few days later the school counselor came in to my office. She told me that the oldest had come to see her and that he and some of his friends were going to do a Hockey Shoot Out to raise money for the playground. I was surprised when she told me the news, when I had left the idea with the oldest things didn’t look promising. When I spoke to the oldest after school he acted as if it was no big deal. He told me that he needed some help with the posters and that we were going to have to get some prizes together. I asked him how much money he was going to charge per shot and he said “We are going to have to charge like 5 riyals a shot mum, because we are going to need a lot of money if we want to build a playground!” I laughed and then convinced him that it might be too much for one shot and that charging 5 riyals for 3 shots would probably be alright.
The month past and the boys planned their event. I helped them design some posters and me and the other mom found some great prizes for the kids. This week the boys were ready to go. They were super cute organizing kids in to lines, collecting money and giving out prizes. Of course the oldest Muppet was in goal so he was happier than a pig in sh*t. We had anticipated a big rush of kids but soon realized that the location of the Shoot Out was a little out of the way of the normal recess traffic. At the end of the 2nd day the boys had raised close to 500 riyals. The oldest Muppet came to me after school today and told me that they were going to do the shoot out again next week. He was excited at the prospect of raising more money and of being goalie for 2 more recesses. He also told me that we needed more posters and bigger signs and that we would move it to a different place. “Then I am pretty sure we will make enough money for the playground!”
I told him that I was proud of him and his friends for coming up with a great idea to help raise money for the playground. I also told him that whatever money they were able
to raise would help out with the park and that sometimes it takes lots of people to get a big project like this off the ground. I said that he and his friends should be proud of their contribution.
I am grateful that our boys are learning in an environment that encourages them to think like positive active global citizens. They are growing up in such a privileged lifestyle that I think it is important that they learn about giving back. We are very proud of the oldest guy for all of his efforts and hopefully we will be able to raise enough money to get this play ground built!
If you are interested in more information about Boma Africa and all the great work that they do click on this link here.