Activity Keeps a Body Young
“I was thinking that because of my old age I cannot play but I was lying to myself” – Lawrence Wambura, 56
By Laura di Nardo and Brittny Robins
When Mariam Moteleka, a Right To Play Coach at Dodoma Mukulu Primary School, was asked how Right To Play improved her life personally, she responded with a simple statement: “I’m very old. I’m 50 years old, but according to Right To Play I am only 30!”
Physical activity benefits mental and physical health and helps reduce or control hypertension, diabetes and poor joint mobility. While Right To Play’s programs target children affected by war, poverty and disease in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, those Coaches leading the sport and play-based activities can also benefit.
While visiting schools in Dodoma, Tanzania offering Right To Play programs, there were two Coaches who stood out. These were Coaches who not only improved the lives of the hundreds of children they coached on a weekly basis, but who were also candid about having improved their own physical quality of life through Right To Play. Mariam explained how her body had become very light through being active, which in turn has increased her strength. “According to Right To Play I am very young. I can play everything. I can run, I can jump, I can do anything, and therefore I like it very much.”
Lawrence Wambura, a 56-year-old Coach from Uhuru Primary School, has been a Coach with Right To Play for two years. He said, “I was happy to be selected as a Coach because I was thinking that I am now too old to participate in play, but once I started, I found that I am now able to move my body.” Through a big smile and occasional bursts of laughter, Lawrence admitted that his family is very proud of him as he can now play with his children without any problem.
These two Coaches and many others around Tanzania have started to feel young again through their leading and participation in Right To Play activities. While teaching life lessons and helping these children make their bodies healthy and strong, it is evident that they are physically reaping the benefits of this program as well.