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    Marines teach Nawa students dodgeball; first girl attends school



    Story by Sgt. Brian Tuthill 

    Regimental Combat Team-7

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE GERONIMO, Afghanistan — "You're out!" Nine Afghan children shouted at Bayhodulla in Pashto March 31 after a soccer ball flew through the air and tagged him on his shoulder.

    The 9-year-old student trotted off toward the sand barrier walls lining the basketball court-sized sand lot and waited for the game to end under the shade of canopy until his teammates earned a victory and started the game anew.

    The 10 children, many of whom attend school twice a week at the Afghan national army compound adjacent to Forward Operating Base Geronimo, were taught the game of dodgeball by Marines of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, during a break in their Pashto numbers lesson.

    The Marines here also celebrated an unexpected victory at the school that day, when the first Afghan girl came to class to join in the lesson after the dodgeball game finished.

    For Warrant Officer Troy D. Anstine, Headquarters and Service Company's executive officer, teaching a new game to children from another country was made even more difficult when his Pashto interpreter was called away before he could explain the rules of the game.

    "Dodgeball was one of my favorite games growing up and I thought it would be fun and easy for them to pick up on," said Anstine. "Not having our linguist there was an obvious obstacle. The kids knew how to get in a line from attending school, and we broke them down into two teams. We drew a line in the sand and Jerome and I demonstrated everything and they got it and started playing. They didn't like the concept of getting hit and being out, and some were frustrated with that and wanted to leave at first."

    Although Jerome Joseph, the tactical safety specialist deployed with1/3, had never played an actual game of dodgeball growing up, that fact did not stop him from joining in to demonstrate and pantomime the rules to the children once he learned them.

    "It was a challenge teaching them the game," said Joseph, who grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands and visited the school as a guest instructor. "It was even more challenging for me because growing up I've never actually played an organized game of dodgeball. We threw balls at each other, but not with any kind of rules like this. Working with the kids today has been a very unique experience for me.

    "I realized how much we take simple things for granted in the U.S.," said Joseph, a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant. "Once we were able to explain it, their faces really lit up when they played."

    Just before the game had finished, an 8-year-old girl arrived to the school with three other young boys, who quickly joined the group of students while she kept her distance outside the compound.

    After the game, the school's Pashto interpreter returned and students went back to their studies. They recited and wrote Pashto numbers and then took on coloring assignments requiring them to pair the numbers to colors and color in the appropriate areas. The girl slowly and cautiously made her way into the compound and joined the class already in session.

    "We were so excited to have our first female student," said Anstine. "She was scared at first, but I think she had a good time. I hope we will see more girls come to school and start their education."



    Date Taken: 04.03.2010
    Date Posted: 04.03.2010 13:32
    Story ID: 47641

    Web Views: 1,241
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