Invert City is a passion project I had thought about for several years before I started actively working on it on December 28th of 2021. The name, as I wrote on our about page, implies flipping and going upside down.
But there is more to it.
And in my search for content about gymnastics, movement, self-love and all the components of Invert City, I found what could be the future of African Gymnastics.
As you may know, depending on where in the world you read this, Ontario went into lockdown for twenty-five days in early 2022 – a period when we could not produce content for the website or any of our social media channels.
During this time, I decided to share other creators’ material to keep momentum, and Instagram was apparently happy with that decision, though TikTok, unfortunately, disapproved of the strategy.
Edit: It was one of our senior athletes and long-time friend of the gym, Maria, who alerted me to this account and its content. For the sake of credit where credit is due, you can visit maria on her Instagram business account and thank her for the gift.
An average of four thousand views per reel was a triumphant outcome for such a small account as InvertCity‘s. We are still happy with how that platform has treated us. More important to this post, the search for Instagram posts we could share on our page introduced us to Eries, The African juggling teacher.
Eries, or Eria, as they call him in Kampala, his city in the country of Uganda, is a juggling instructor for the Kataka Arts organisation.
Kataka is, in their own words, “a non-profit organisation whose primary purpose is to support kids in Katwe. We are dedicated to expanding (general purpose) opportunities for youths and pushing the boundaries of talents. Our organisation’s name was developed by youths of different talents who grew in Katwe, a slum area found in Kampala U.G full of gang stars, alcoholics, and drug addicts.”
Eries’ post Invert City shared on Instagram showed a young girl performing a front somersault using a tire as a beat-board and landing on old, decrepit foam.
More impressive than the skill displayed by the girl in the video was the attitude visible on her face.
She’s just happy to be there.
One need only to look at some of their posts to see how committed these young humans are to their training.
I recommend you follow Eries’ account if you need motivation. The most moving part of what the African Juggling Coach shares on social media is how they continue to work hard to accomplish their goals.
Despite the natural challenges of their environment, they continue to show up to training. And they train well.
There is so much to say about what we can learn from Eries and his students. There is even more to tell if we want to learn about the Kataka mission. Out of respect for these numerous, valuable lessons, I decided as I edited this (almost five thousand words long) article, to segment it into several posts.
The goal today is to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between our organisations.
Invert City and Pulsars Gymnastics Club want to embark on a series of projects to help Eries and his students. In turn, his team will continue to provide us with motivation and the desire to overcome our perceived challenges.
We will announce our goals as we move forward.
Join Invert City’s Mailing list for updates on Eria and More.
The lockdown was undesirable for all of us, and I wish we hadn’t gone through it. And if I can surmise something critical from Eries’ children, it is that we need to find the positive in everything that happens in life.
Then, I’ll repeat it, I wish we didn’t have to endure the lockdown, but I celebrate that some of the circumstances it pushed us towards led us to meet the African Juggling coach.
Eries and Kataka have a noble mission to “Groom children’s lives by helping them realise and achieve their full potential with development of their minds, bodies and discipline through Gymnastics and Circus.”
In a short interview with me coach Aries said, “Our long term plan is to help kids achieve in acrobatics, juggling and other circus arts. We also recently last year started training gymnastics, and our organisation @kataka_arts is the first to handle gymnastics in our country. And there we are looking forward to see our country participating in the Olympic games.”
As I said before, there is much more to say about this wonderful group, and I will say it.
Thank you for stopping by, see you in the next article.
— Coach José