„I've won!“, that's how it's echoing again and again from the group of children having come together at the holiday programme that the „Licht für Afrika Association“ had organized in order to give the kids the opportunity to try and play games, exactly like they are being played in Africa.
First Hand Information
At the very beginning there were photographic impressions collected by Agnes Riegler during her stay in Tanzania which took the children into a foreign world and giving them insights into the situation of African children and showing the dimension and diversity of Africa. These experiences were complemented by Ruth Schnitzer, who brought in contributions from her own adventures. The children took the opportunity to ask questions and expand their knowledge about Africa.
Games for Creative and Dexterous Tinkerers
Exploring the present exhibits the children quickly found out that African toys reveal imagination in abundance. The impression that the children play on a garbage dump or use garbage as toys only shows the totally different life circumstances and the creative opportunities. The children were also impressed that the toys are often recycled from everyday items: Bicycle tyres become rolling toys, planks become wooden scooters and tin cans transform into artistic aeroplanes and cars.
Fun with Football and Marbles
Subsequently the kids had the opportunity to realize their own ideas. Quickly each and every one of them had found something appealing and soon after the whole place was spilling over with imagination. Empty soft drink cartons proved to be a very versatile tinkering material turned into birdhouses, doll cradles, flower vases and hanging flower baskets by the overflowing creativity of the children. Wool remnants morphed into whole squid families and self-made wool puppets were clad in rags.
Also Kalaha, a game where beans are being spread on a game board, attracted children to give it a try. Everybody did his best at playing marbles, hopscotch and bicycle-tyre-throwing giving cause for a lot of laughter. A common pleasure for everyone around the globe is football. Even the use of a self-rolled paper-bowl wrapped in plastic did not tarnish the immense joy of playing.
In the end everybody agreed: Whoever thinks that children in Africa do not know creative playing is on the wrong track. They can invent amazing games without prefabricated toys. It was astonishing for all to see how much fun you can have with simple materials like sticks, stones, sea-shells, sand, tyres and similar things.
In the end of the Holiday Programme the children were surprised how fast the time went by. They would have preferred to go on playing and tinkering for a long while.