Rahim Daya relates some feedback from the students taking part in the sailing activity
Ever since I joined the residential programme in August 2009 my journey at the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa has been a wonderful mix of not only being a recipient of top class academics at school but also a sense of extra curricular fulfilment aided by being in the Residential programme and the Sailing club is just one of these exciting activities.
The club was set up by Mr Davies in April for residential students and applications then came flooding in for the opportunity to go and sail every week. I luckily happened to be one of the successful applicants chosen among nine other students. Every Saturday morning from then on, the group of ten students travel to the Mombasa yacht club in Nyali for a two hour session that demands quick thinking, effective communication, deftness, reflexes, strength, risk taking and a little bit of luck (if you want to stay dry!). Not only are we taught to sail but how to rig and unrig our boats as well as perform certain manoeuvres so as to successfully turn, accelerate and brake. The club is a twelve lesson course and at the end of these lessons the ten participants will hopefully become sailing cadets and receive a one year free membership at the yacht club.
Khalid Jiwani, one of the ten that regularly attends the sailing club feels that the sailing club provides a rare opportunity to do something unique. “Sailing is not something one, simply walks out of one’s house and does, it requires a certain environment that we happen to have in Mombasa and we must make the most of it”. Asterix Hassan feels that the sailing club is fun and hopes to one day sail competitively. “I hope that the school makes a team to sail competitively and from there I hope one day I can professionally compete at an international competition”.
For me sailing, while it does give me reason to wake up early on a Saturday morning, is a chance to interact with members of the residence at school and form tight bonds. With there being eighty students in the residence it is hard to interact with everyone but the sailing club gives you a chance to really get to know one another well while together in the boat. I have come to know my different partners in the boat really well and it gives us a chance to be able to discuss our sailing experiences such as capsizing and how fast our boat would go.
Not only do the ten of us have fun sailing, the club also gives us a chance to discover the livelihoods of many people who sail for a living. For many people and some communities in coastal areas sailing is very much part of their culture. Many African communities sail out to the ocean to fish and this is their only source of income. It is sad to see that when we do go sailing we can see all the oil that is in the ocean and that gets washed up to the shore. The oil kills the fish and these sailing and fishing communities really suffer as a result.
I would like to thank, on behalf of the whole club, Mr George Killeen, Mr Paul Davies and Mr Hussein Akbar for all the support that they give us at the sailing club. Without them the club wouldn’t exist and Saturday mornings wouldn’t be half the fun.
21 May 2018
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