Dausa (Rajasthan): A professional hockey player from Germany has taken it upon herself to teach the sport to children in Rajasthan's Dausa district. Andrea Thurmshirn is the hockey coach for children at Garh Himmat Singh, Dausa.
For Andrea the village was same as it was in a picture book but she had to face the language hurdle. "The village was like in a picture book... And I thought in Germany kids are so overloaded with activities and here there was nothing so I got them some hockey sticks just so they could have some fun with them... But they stood staring, they didn't know what to do with them. I couldn't speak their language and they couldn't understand English," she said.
She first met children when she came visiting here with her business partner as a tour operator in 2010. Since then she has come a long way and so have the children. Driven by children's enthusiasm, she has now set up a base here to work with them.
Besides teaching hockey, she also teaches English to children. "She teaches us doubling in the morning and tells us things like where to strike while playing. She also teaches us English. Before I began playing hockey I would do dishes at home after school and help my mother," said Shivani Sahu, one of the student.
But it has not been easy for her. Firstly, it was not easy to convince the parents to send their children to learn hockey and then she had to discipline them who would disappear without notice especially during the harvest season.
Andrea's family and friends also questioned her why is she doing all this and she said she is doing this for children. "My family and friends ask me everyday why the hell are you doing this but I do it for the kids. They're doing very well and that makes it worth it. They have a bright future! We'll grow a big hockey armada here," she said.
Her next hurdle now is to convince a neighbouring village to help mount an Astroturf that Germany has donated. But she is optimistic that with some funds they will be able to lease farm land to put it up.