Turkana-lympics – Long jump, Balls of Doum, and Turkana Faces

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First and foremost, a belated Happy Mardi Gras!

The Students and the TA make impromptu masks for Mardi Gras.

The Students and the TA make impromptu masks for Mardi Gras.

Our athletes have been very busy these past weeks studying hard and doing research for their modules. But, as all good athletes, they have made time for their training sessions (even if this required early morning starts) and 3 more Turkana-lympic events have now taken place.

Long Jump

At 6pm the athletes gathered on a wide sandbar on the Turkwel River for perhaps one of the more traditional tournaments of the games; except for this version the distance was cumulative between the athletes of each team. In other words, the “jump” line for the next athlete of the team, was where the first had landed. One could say, it was more of a Long Jump Relay Race without  a baton, and with distance (as opposed to time) as the deciding factor.

Kate, using her ballet skills to achieve greater distance.

Kate, using her ballet skills to achieve greater distance.

Sarah demonstrating some amazing hair skills.

Sarah demonstrating some amazing hair skills.

The team that achieved the furtherest cumulative distance would be the winners of this event; and this time, the country with the best propulsion abilities turned out to be *Akreísma*.

Abdi's winning jump.

Abdi’s winning jump.

There was, however, a draw for 2nd place between Kasaröfell and RET which was settled by an eye boggling jump-off between the two best athletes of each team – Rob and Robyn.

Robyn in flight.

Robyn in flight.

Rob gets the team to 2nd place with his star jump.

Rob gets the team to 2nd place with his star jump.

Rob, with his unique propulsion technique, conquered the silver medal for the team, with Robyn very close behind winning bronze.

Balls of Doum

A less physically intense event, but no less competitive, the Balls of Doum was invented by keen Bowls players who ended up in the Turkana region purely by accident when their hot air balloon, en-route to an important tournament, encountered some problems and had to make an emergency landing. While the pilot fixed the balloon, the sportsmen, noticing the distinct lack of a bowling green but the presence of many Doum Palm nuts in the area, spent the waiting hours training in the Turkana sand using the abundant Doum nuts. The challenging conditions of the sand and the unique morphology of the nuts proved to be key for the team to win the Bowls tournament and, thus, the Balls of Doum game was created.

Throwing the Doum nuts.

Throwing the Doum nuts.

Following suit, our teams gathered in the Mess for the first ever Olympic competition of this sport, with Dr. Martins as the official jack thrower. Once again, *Akreísma* takes the lead with another gold, followed by the The Empire of Bui Bui, that having been the underdog for so long, surprised even themselves by surpassing the remaining teams and winning their first ever silver medal! Well done!

The Empire of Bui Bui makes 2nd place.

The Empire of Bui Bui makes 2nd place.

The winning team - *Akreísma* - after Balls of Doum.

The winning team – *Akreísma* – after Balls of Doum.

Turkana Faces

A variation of the popular staring game, the teams gathered in a circle and stared at each other with serious faces. The mere suggestion of a smile would result in the elimination of the athlete from the staring part of the competition, but meant that they could try and entertain the other teams at the risk of causing their own team members to smile too.

Tiffany and Abdi try and distract Sarah.

Tiffany and Abdi try and distract Sarah.

The first person to break was Kailie from *Akreísma*, but her powers of distracting were so good that she managed to drive the other teams out of the game, leaving Robyn and Carolina in eye-to-eye staring combat. The minutes were tense; and then all it took was one word for Robyn to lose here concentration and laugh. Once again *Akreísma* take the gold and the lead.

Carolina earning gold for the team, as Robyn collapses into laughter.

Carolina earning gold for the team, as Robyn collapses into laughter.

Here are the running scores so far.

Score totals as of the Turkana Faces tournament.

Score totals as of the Turkana Faces tournament.

*Akreísma* is still in the lead, but they are only a few points ahead of Kasaröfell and RET… Will the next tournaments cause a turn of fate for the top team? And will Bui Bui surprise everyone with an epic rise from the depths of the scoreboard?  Stay tuned for more sport news from the Turkana-lympic village!

By | 2017-01-04T18:04:54+00:00 March 10th, 2014|Field Schools|Comments Off on Turkana-lympics – Long jump, Balls of Doum, and Turkana Faces

About the Author:

Hi! I am Kat Warren and I am the Teaching Assistant for the Spring 2014 field school. While I am here I am also involved in the African Fossils Project (africanfossils.org) where I am 3D-scanning modern African fauna, fossils and archaeological material. I am a recent graduate in Archaeological Science from the University of Sheffield and my current interests lie in the evolution of cognition, and primate behaviour as a means to understand the cognitive frameworks of our earliest ancestors.