Bakuena reflects on health lessons at K4L
Bakuena Ramakatsa, 15, grew up in a community which did not support his love of football. Sport was seen as a distraction to more important things. But he pursued his passion and in 2017 was selected to become a member of Kick4life’s residential Academy. The Academy is an intensive and holistic intervention with the aim of supporting young people towards gaining scholarships at international universities and the chance to pursue successful careers. During 2018, along with his colleagues in the Academy, Bakuena took part in the Good Health & Wellbeing through Sport Curriculum at the Kick4Life Centre. We asked him what he learned and how he is putting this into practice.
How did the course help to improve your confidence?
“Before I went to the sessions, people used to say I am shy. When I was with my friends, they would make decisions that affected me without my input because I would be quiet all the time when they talked about issues that needed decision making. After the sessions I learned how to speak up and contribute in the decision making process.”
What did you learn about HIV and how to treat people infected with the virus?
“Initially I thought you couldn’t be close with people infected with HIV because older people had said you could be infected with HIV through touch. During the sessions I learned how one could truly be infected with HIV and that knowledge had given me the freedom to interact and play with people infected with the disease.”
What did you learn about the role of women in society?
“I respect females because I believe they have been important in my life in the form of my sister and mom. Because of the effect they’ve had on me, I respect women because I believe they are like my sister and mother in their awesomeness.”
What have you learned about diet and nutrition?
“My family and I have changed our diet. I used to wake and not eat breakfast and just go outside to play. After the sessions I learned that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We eat a variety of food because of my mom. After I got into the Academy she was very strict about us eating vegetables at the house because she wanted me to have a healthy body. Furthermore, she wants to lose weight so the habit was not only meant to help me but her too.”
Have you changed your hygiene practices since attending the course?
“Hygiene to me was just washing your hands before you eat before I joined the sessions. In the session I learned that germs are always on our hands and we should wash them regularly. I now wash my hands when I get off the pitch and in general. My mom makes me drink boiled water with lemon to get may body into shape.”
Did you learn anything about road safety?
“Stop, Look and Listen. Don’t cross where there is a curve in the road. Now at night when my parents send me to walk and run some errands I wear a reflector so motorists can see me as I walk by the road.”
What else did you learn on the course and how is it helping you pursue your future goals?
“I used to use teamwork only with my family and close friends. After the sessions I learned how to teach other kids on how to cross the road correctly. I used to buy junk food when I had money, but now I buy fruits or save it instead. These sessions, especially hygiene and nutrition sessions helped me remember things we did in school in both Home Economics and Biology in terms of balanced diet. it makes it easier to retain information so I can remember it during tests. Through the Academy I hope to go on and study Electrical Engineering at university level.”