This post was written by Remy Ndiaye.
First, I would like to wish every single one of you a happy New Year and thank you all for your great support. Now that Lisanne and I are familiar with the area and the community, things are coming along smoothly. Over the past few months we have witnessed a huge improvement from the kids on the court, and with this routine i believe they will get better and better everyday.
However, we ended 2014 with a positive impact in Rwanda especially in sport, health and education. We are looking forward to improving the quality, quantity and knowledge of the men and women in the Eastern Province. A few major projects have be discussed among the group and we are very confident about them. The Shooting Touch basketball league and Health Awareness Months are one of the major projects we will focus on. Every month, we will share a health topic with the kids. In January we began with malaria, which is an intermittent and remittent fever caused by a protozoan parasite that invades the red blood cells. The parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes in many tropical and subtropical regions.
We’ve started the process by giving them a pre-test about Malaria to evaluate their knowledge and surprisingly the percentages on both courts, Rukara and Kayonza, were above 65%. It was the first time for them taking a Malaria pre-test, and the ones with the highest scores were affected with Malaria in the past. After the pre-test, we moved onto the next step, which consisted of bringing guest speakers to each site. I provided 3 guest speakers in Kayonza and 2 guest speakers in Rukara. Most of the guest speakers were doctors from the districts, Nurses, Peace Corps volunteers and Natural Science teachers. Once the speakers arrived on each site, I gave them the tests results so they will know the major points that needed to be given to the kids. The kids gave all their attention to the speakers and they also shared sad stories with everyone else in the room about themselves or family members who were affected with Malaria. However, the main information that the kids needed was the cause and prevention of malaria. Dr. Annette from Kayonza and nurse Marie from Rukara covered the main points.
Malaria is caused by parasites of the Plasmodium species, which are carried by mosquitoes infected from biting someone who already has the disease. Malaria is then transmitted to other people when infected mosquitoes bite them. Rarely, it is passed from person to person.
– Stay inside when it is dark outside, preferably in a screened or air-conditioned room.
– Wear protective clothing (long pants and long-sleeved shirts).
– Use insect repellent with DEET (N,N diethylmetatoluamide). The repellent is available in varying strengths up to 100%. In young children, use a preparation containing less than 24% strength, because too much of the chemical can be absorbed through the skin
– Use bed nets (mosquito netting) sprayed with or soaked in an insecticide such as permethrin or deltamethrin. But make sure that these insecticides still work against the mosquitoes where you are. In some areas, mosquitoes have become resistant to permethrin and deltamethrin so the bed nets do not offer much protection.
– Use flying-insect spray indoors around sleeping areas.
– Avoid areas where malaria and mosquitoes are present if you are at higher risk (for example, if you are pregnant, very young, or very old).
The information above was the priority because most of the kids struggled on that part during the test and the doctors had good feelings that the kids would do a lot better during the final test.
The third step was about visual information that we shared with the kids. We showed to the kids videos about malaria at Kayonza Youth Friendly center and Ecole Secondaire de Rukara. The videos clearly explained the stages of malaria from the bites of the mosquitoes to weakness of the body. Doctor Silas from Kayonza took the time to specifically brainstorm the information. After each part, he asked questions to make sure that the kids are on top of the subject.
After the doctors corrected the final tests, they came out positive because the percentage was above 95%. The results show that the kids have learned a lot from the speakers and paid more attention. For the month of February we will be sharing our experience about sanitation.
Since it was the end of the summer, KYFC and Shooting Touch decided to organize a Bye-Bye vacation tournament among Shooting Touch kids to encourage them for all their hard work. Authorities, the Mayor, teachers, parents and people from the area showed up and wished their children a good semester. Models, dance crew, volleyball, karate, and artists… they all came to make the make the kids happy before they started school.
The highlight of this month was the opening ceremony of Shooting Touch’s new court in Gahini. A new court was added in the Eastern province and ready to be used. Today Lisanne and I went to Groupe Scolaire de Gahini for the inauguration of the new Shooting Touch basketball court, where 1000 students welcomed us with impatience. The Headmaster introduced the Gahini dance crew for some entertainment and then gave a speech to express her gratitude to Shooting Touch. After an emotional speech from the Headmaster, it was our turn to explain to the students what Shooting Touch is about. We shared our backgrounds and promised them that we will do all our best to help them grow and use basketball as a tool for education and health.
After the introductions we headed straight to the brand new court for some basketball drills such as shooting, passing, dribbling and a quick 5 on 5 for the guests who came to watch. The children enjoyed the first day and they were very focused. We are looking forward working with the GSG kids because they have some advantages over other sites. First, it is a boarding school so the kids are there 24/7 and have no excuse to miss practices unless they have exams. Second, there will be a good team chemistry since they live together and have the same resources. However, we don’t know exactly how many children will show up for the first practice on Monday, but we will manage the timing and the group by having two sessions. The first session will be held for younger kids (U14) and the second session will be for older kids (U18). The headmaster and school donors are looking forward to seeing their kids win Shooting Touch league, which will begin really soon.
I will update more later about the new court and also the first practice in Gahini.
Thank you so much for all your support and God bless you all,