The Bowling Foundation to Grow Bowling in Africa
by Troy Greisen Executive Director The Bowling Foundation
On a dirt road in a small rural village…somewhere in the dry desert of Uganda you will find the sport of bowling. Far away from the roar of pin-setting machines and the thunder of bowling balls be heaved down the lanes of major bowling centers and tournaments in the US and other major countries of the world where bowling is a thriving and hugely popular sport there are simply a few giggles heard.
Some dust stirs up as a makeshift “ball” rolls down the dirt road and strikes into ten “bottle” pins set up in a triangle shape. The soft sounds heard with the giggles are the plastic bottles clattering into each other as they fall to the ground from the impact of the ball. The “ball” is actually a torn and tattered half deflated soccer ball. The “pins” are actually empty plastic soda bottles found along side the road, which also serves as the “lane.” The giggles are those of village children, who are thrilled to be learning their new sport, the sport of bowling! In a country that is know more for continuing ethnic conflict and rebel activity in its northern parts, or often the poverty and devastation that goes with being a third world country in central Africa, the sport of bowling is finding its place! Where AIDS and poverty and hunger are the norm, Bowling as a recreational activity can provide some respite and positive social development. While bowling is one of the most popular sports in the world and enjoys massive participation, Uganda is not the first place that comes to mind when speaking of the popularity or enjoyment of the sport. Yet, Enlighten Africa, a small NGO that works to improve lives, develop and educate throughout the continent took up the idea when kids were seen using the “recycled” items in a way that fashioned tenpin bowling. After some rearranging of the pins, and some basic instruction, bowling was an instant hit! “We left the equipment with them and I can't remember seeing a group of kids more excited about having a new game to play.” Said Adam Williams, a volunteer for the organization. “The beauty of ten-pin bowling conditions like these is that it can be played equally by both boys and girls,” he said. The children also found a fun way to learn math as they were learning to keep score on a chalkboard.
Upon learning of the project, The Bowling Foundation is arranging to send “mobile” bowling lanes and equipment to the village. These bowling kits include a 30 foot carpet lane, a set of plastic pins, and rubber balls. The same kits are used to teach bowling in schools with a teacher’s curriculum through The Bowling Foundation, and are also sent to American troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan for some recreation through Bowl For Veterans program.
While we love to promote the sport of bowling, the real benefit here is providing some new, athletic, healthy, social and educational opportunities for youth in a struggling third world country of Africa!
For more information, contact The Bowling Foundation, (888) 302- 8122 or email us, email@example.com. Website: www.bowlingfoundation.org