During the long school lunch-break (noon to 3pm) pupils often run races or play games.
Here are a few of the games school children play:
For example, one game of strategy (see picture above) involves children making a board
in the dusty ground by scooping out 36 pockets, six by six. One child uses 12 pebbles as
his or her pieces and the opposing child uses 12 sticks or straws. The players take it in
turns to move one of their pieces. They can move vertically or horizontally, but not
diagonally. The object is to get a row of three of their own pieces, either horizontally
or vertically. Each time a player makes a row s/he can remove one of the opponent's
pieces. The winner is the player who reduces her or his opponent to two pieces.
Laissez tomber, ne laissez pas tomber
|Laissez tomber game
The children form into pairs, one climbing onto the others back, and arrange
themselves into a circle. A ball is thrown from one pair to the next, with half the
children chanting 'Laissez tomber', and the other half 'ne laissez pas tomber'. There are
no winners or losers, but lots of laughter every time a pair allows the ball to fall.
Le renard, passe passe
Children sit in a large circle, facing inwards. One person starts the game by trotting
around the outside of the circle carrying a ball and repeating the song 'Le renard, passe
passe, Chacun a son tour, Chez le coiffeur Mamadou Keita'. At some point the runner drops
the ball against the back of one of the children sitting down and then runs around the
circle to escape. The child hit by the ball has to pick it up and run in pursuit, aiming
to throw the ball at the runner before s/he manages to complete the circle and take the
vacated space. If the child is caught s/he has to stand in the middle of the circle on one