My second week in Rwanda was once again a huge success. I got to meet so many people and also got to work with the precious kids on each court. Monday afternoon we checked-out at the Hostel in Kigali and headed to Nyamirama, which is an hour and fifty minutes away from Kigali. The bus ride was definitely comfortable for Isa and Lisanne because they are both less than 6 feet tall. I had to squeeze between Isa and Lisanne because of my 6’7″ height all the way to Kayonza Station. I just plugged my headphones in and enjoyed my Rwandese music while they enjoyed the comfortable seats by taking a nap.
Once in Kayonza we had to take another bus to Nyamirama where the basketball court is located.
The kids were really excited to meet us for the first time and of course some of them tried to show off with their basketball skills. They were asking about the previous grantees especially Kevin. We noticed the great work that Kevin and Priscilla did with the kids in Nyamirama. We started with some dribbling drills and the Criss-Cross drill. After a couple of sets we went to the passing session. After a few stations we could evaluate the level of the kids and what needed to be ameliorated in the next 10 months. After practice this kid Cedric asked me to dunk for everyone, and I could see big smiles on their faces. A little baby dunk got them all excited. Cedric asked me if I could help him dunk? I said of course! I lifted him until he reached the rim then he SLAMMED the ball so hard, and that got everyone excited. The kids are so lovely and really smart.
Around 6:30 we were heading to Rwinkwavu to spend the night and meet our next group the day after. We made a stop at Kabarondo Station and then took another bus to Rwink. We made our own dish called the “Shooting Touch dish” created by Kevin. It’s basically veggies and rice mixed to together. They said Kevin cooks it better but I think Lisanne and I got it all. The next Day at 9:30 we got to the Rwink court where Casey and Isaura did a great job building a strong relationship with the kids and also the community. They love their coaches and they would stand by our doors 20 minutes before practice and start calling our names to go practice. The workout went really well and our main purpose was to get to know the players’ names. At the end we played a game of Knockout, which they called “the bye-bye” game. Some kids would purposely wait until it is our turn to shoot to sneak behind us and try to knock us out. It felt like they had their best practice of their lives. After practice, we decided to go to the supermarket and buy some rice and veggies. We did not get there alone. They wanted to follow us all the way to the market, showed us the way to get there, and what surprised me the most was that they wanted to carry the bags of rice and bananas. That was the highlight of my week.
After the meeting in Gahini, the next stop was Rukara Court, where we first met the kids and coach Aime. Coach Aime was doing a great job keeping the players right on track because we could tell that they had skills and they were ready to play basketball like every kid on each site. The Rukara Site is in the center of a Primary and Secondary school. As soon as they got out of school, the little kids with their school uniforms came straight to the basketball court while we are running our drills. Coach Isaura took care of it by telling them to stay on the side line and watch.