Finding the Balance Out East

Well, it has almost been a month since I arrived in Rwanda. I am starting to get more settled in some areas, but others are still a bit of a work in progress.

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Last time I wrote I mentioned how excited I was to meet all the kids out East. After a few weeks I can say it has been even more awesome than I would have hoped! These kids absolutely love the game! They are always happy to see me because they know once I come they get to play the game they love! They are also very competitive, so I can’t wait until a couple weeks from now so we can start our inter-court league.

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So far, with coaching I am still figuring out the balance of everything. There are some players who need the fundamentals hammered down a lot more, while others have been in the Shooting Touch program for a while and are in need of a bigger challenge. One thing I am starting to get down is finding the balance between structured serious drills, and fun games for them. That’s the most important part, it’s my job to make sure they are having enough fun every day to keep coming back for more.

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We have also done testing with the kids last week and most of them have gotten a kick out of that, and checking their scores vs their friends. The kids in Nyamirama loved it and were consistently challenging each other and trying to push to do better. On the other hand we did the testing for the girls in Gahini, who are very much still learning the game, and it was easy to see that they hated it. It looked as if they felt they were being judged by the kids who were watching them after school.  Anyone who has attempted something for the first time in front of a lot of people knows how that feels.

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That’s what I mean, every group at every court is different, and I’m still trying to find the balance so that every group feels great about playing the game of basketball.

Outside of the testing and practices, we have started doing respect lessons with the kids. Everyday I bring a big sheet to check their respect, such as showing up to practice on time, listening, and doing the little things to make practice run efficiently.


It took them a couple days, but I am definitely noticing a big difference in the kids attitudes. Now they know I am not messing around when I tell them to give me a ball for the next drill, and they know I will take checkmarks away when they are being a bad teammate.

Off the court I am starting to find my place in Rwinkwavu. For instance every Thursday I go teach English to a group of students, while a friend named Hans brings the students food. There’s also certain rituals like Taco Thursday for lunch in Rwink. Which for my California roots is something I look forward to every week.

All in all, I am starting to get settled, find my place, and figuring out things more and more each day. Just gotta stay balanced.

teach English to a group of students, while a friend named Hans brings the students food. There’s also certain rituals like Taco Thursday for lunch in Rwink. Which for my California roots is something I look forward to every week.

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