Our Fellows are very busy in Rwanda, and since neither of them has had the time to write a blog post lately, we wanted to update you with some of the information they were able to pass onto us. Lisanne and Remy will have much more comprehensive updates on all their goings on very soon.
This weekend was a huge one for basketball activities with both the first ever youth playoff games and first ever All-Star team tryouts. For the All-Star team tryouts, youth coaches and Fellows selected a few players from each site, and then on Saturday all the players gathered in Kayonza. The tryout was divided up into two parts, the first focusing on drills to showcase specific talents. Then the players were split up into teams and scrimmaged for a bit. At the end of the day, outside experts selected 10 girls and 10 boys to make up the teams. The experts were truly a powerhouse lineup of Rwanda basketball figures. They were Moise Mutokambali: the men’s national team head coach, Jacques Bahige: assistant coach for the U16 boys national team, Dusabimana Eric: assistant coach for the U16 girls national team, Ernest Ntaganda: assistant coach for Ubumwe womens team in Kigali, Jeanne Cady Yamfashije current player on the Women’s National Team, and Priscilla Dodoo: former Shooting Touch fellow and professional baskebtall player:
The purpose of the event was to bring together the best players in the youth league for some friendly competition. Also, having so many national team coaches there meant it was an opportunity for those coaches to see if there are any players good enough to play for the U16 national team! This would of course be an amazing opportunity for any of our players, opening up doors that go well beyond just basketball like education and travel. Though our basketball programs are totally inclusive and don’t turn any kids away from playing, that doesn’t mean these kids haven’t gotten pretty good at basketball too!
The other weekend event was the first round of playoff games for the youth league. The games were all competitive and a lot of fun, and in the end teams from each of our sites advanced to the finals. This upcoming weekend the finals are going to be held in the capital city of Kigali, which will be an unbelievable experience for all of the teams that have made it.
As mentioned above, 2013 Fellow Priscilla Dodoo is back visiting Rwanda! Besides helping out with the tryout, she is happy to see the kids she coached last year and is catching up with her friends from Rwanda. We are so happy to have Priscilla back, but we are not surprised! All of the Fellows connection to Shooting Touch never really ends as they constantly are fiending for information about all the happenings in Rwanda or meeting up as a group to reminisce. Sometimes like with Priscilla the itch gets so bad that they return to Rwanda, either for a short visit or for an entire year as our Rwandan country director like Isa Guzman. Justin and Lindsey are not speaking lightly when they say that the Fellows are part of the Shooting Touch family. It is great to have Priscilla back, even if it is for only a short period.