Footprints to Zanzibar

Jumping Rope at African School

IMG_5853I have this set of fantastic memories, from when I was seven years old, in my boarding school.

Group jump roping to songs, chants and rhymes!

We’d take turns (we organized ourselves very successfully).  Two kids would hold the ends of the thick flexible sailor rope, begged for from and granted by the Dormfather.  These two kids would take a few practice swings, while the rest of us – some twenty or thirty! – lined up waiting our turn to run in, catty-corner, and keep jumping the rope for as long as we could.

“Teddy-bear, Teddy-bear, turn a-ROUND.

Teddy-bear, Teddy-bear, touch the GROUND!”

And onwards from there.

If a jumper was super good, and stayed jumping for awhile. other good jumpers would run in and join her or him – sometimes we got as many as 12 kids in there, all jumping together!

That was the fun and exciting part.

I wasn’t a good jumper yet, being only seven years old, and not athletically gifted like some of the other kids.  I still enjoyed it SO much, though and, one enticing aspect of it was that we all improved with practice.

I remember the big kids being nice to us little kids, while the jump roping craze, which lasted several weeks, was on, and seldom making fun of a young kid for tripping on the rope or not being able to run in successfully. I remember the older kids giving us younger ones little coaching tips and lots of praise and encouragement. I ask myself, all these years later, “now WHERE did they learn how to do that?”  From their parents, of course, and from their teachers, and from each other.


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