Yes, Ugandans Are Playing Lacrosse!
Friday 9:11am, or 2:11am EST time
Hopeful School, Baby Class thru P-7 (Grades K-8)
Greetings from Kkindu Village, Masaka District, Uganda,
Let me start with an introduction of myself. My name is Emma Rose; a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida (although I’ll tell you I’m from Maryland because that’s where my family roots are, and I’ll be going into my senior year at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. I am a member of the women’s lacrosse team, political science major, and a proud running bulldog. Trust me when I say this, a running bulldog is not a pretty sight for the eyes. I’ll try to keep my first blog post short, as no one likes a lengthy post.
Sometime at the beginning of last year I decided I wanted to spend part of my summer interning in Western or Eastern Africa. That country ended up being Uganda and the internship ended up being with Kevin Dugan, the founder of Fields of Growth International (FOG) and the Lacrosse Volunteer Corps (LVC). Thanks to the very tight nit and highly resourceful nature of the lacrosse community I’m able to intern with a fantastic organization, and contribute to the game I love.
For the past 2 weeks I have been traveling Uganda with a Kevin Dugan and 5 other volunteers for FOG. The journey started in Kampala, where the Uganda Lacrosse Association is located. On our first day the group had the chance to work with the teenagers and young adults that participate in the YMCA lacrosse team; the YMCA acts as an epicenter for many social events in Kampala. This is when I realized language barriers are no joke. Everything you are taught by your parents, like to have good posture and to show well-mannered body language comes into play when language is limited. This is the beauty of lacrosse though, and the beauty of sports in general, they can be taught and translated through demonstration and knowing 3 words in Luganda. Those words being stop, go, and Mzungu which is used to refer to people of European descent or foreigner, just so you know when people are speaking to/about you.
We also had the unique opportunity in Kampala to kick-start the first ever Ugandan Lacrosse League, with approx 7 teams ranging from young boys/girls to post collegiate. It is amazing to see how many people in the area are playing lacrosse. It also came at a surprise to me about how many people came to observe and cheer. Everyone that walked by stopped and watched the games for a little, even though it had poured all morning, rained throughout the day, and in African fashion the games started almost 3 hours late. But spirits where high as people sang, danced and cheered. My volunteer group even got to suit up and play men’s lacrosse, ironically enough we lost, but I did get to celebrate my first ever career goal as a men’s laxer. The excitement in Uganda for lacrosse is thrilling.