Cultural Anthropologist Visits NGUVU Edu Sport

Being an upcoming cultural anthropologist with an interest in development cooperation in East Africa, I am grateful for the opportunity granted by Lothar Firlej to write my Master's thesis about his project - NGUVU Edu Sport. I was sent to Juja for a four-month research fieldwork by the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt as a necessity for the achievement of my master’s degree.

I have been in Juja since the start of November 2017, following and recording the activities as a cultural anthropologist. I, however, took a short break during Christmas to travel to Germany. I haven’t limited myself to observing and recording data and processes, I actively engage in the activities as much as possible. Some of the activities include football practice, work with street children and the street football league among other Edu Nguvu sporting activities. I have been able to join the hiking tours, learned how to cook ugali and sukuma wiki (kale) and designed small units of self-defense and yoga practice.

The research focus of my thesis is titled, ‘Value of education through sports in development cooperation in mid-urban Kenya: case study Nguvu Edu Sport’. I have handled topics such as sports education, education through sports, values, and value of education. The basis of my research is development cooperation with underprivileged children as my informants and Kenya as the location of my research. I would like to illustrate the development of the participants of Nguvu Edu Sport with the following follow-up questions:

• Which elements of the work of Nguvu Edu Sport are important for the value education of the children?

• Are there any conflicting ideas and values among the participants?

• How does the difference in values and ideas reflect in the children’s social reality?

Apart from the aforementioned observations, I hope to answer these and any further questions by interviewing all stakeholders (children, their families, the NGUVU Edu Sport staff, coaches, the founder Lothar Firlej and other people in Juja). 

I couldn’t have wished for a more open and appreciative research field. Lothar Firlej welcomed me to his project with great hospitality and positivity, answered all my questions with patience and allowed me deep insights into all aspects of this project. The children and team coaches accepted and welcomed me to the team without hesitation in a friendly and cordial manner and didn’t mind that I was the only woman in their midst. I’ve rarely seen such humble, disciplined and motivated children before, who are going through life with positivity despite their poor living circumstances. They have shown me love by encouraging me to join them in their games, offered to share their food and tried teaching me Kiswahili. 

The Juja community received me kindly and treated me well. I really missed working with this team and community during my short Christmas break. I am happy and grateful that I get to spend two more months with the amazing Nguvu Edu Sport team.