Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Here's a team picture, because of course, our team was not complete without our interpreters. They were such a huge help in translating, but also in helping us understand the culture.

From left to right they are Deborah (France), Ibou (Senegal), Simeon (Germany), Phillipe (Senegal), Noemi (France), Dokour (Senegal), Abel (Senegal), Guilaye (Senegal).

Here we are with Alioune, who missed the above photo. He actually lives in the village the basketball court was built in, and was so excited to have this opportunity for the kids of the village to hear the gospel. He also took Eric and I to his home to use the restroom (very similar to the Center's restroom), which was so nice of him.

The local interpreters knew that the best way to keep kids back is to walk the line with a stick!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Getting Started

Our first day there, the locals who built the court put the second coat of paint on the lines. That was such a blessing and answer to prayer, as we weren't sure if the court would be done in time.

The guys went and checked out the court on the first day. They also pumped up all the basketballs. Unfortunately the pump that worked was in a missing bag, so they had one pump that leaked. But Brian pulled a MacGuyver and put a piece of gum over the hole. Brilliant!

Here was the court when we first arrived the second day of our trip.

The nets had to be hung on the hoops before we could start. Normally these racks have a plank between two of them to make a platform. We just used them like ladders.

Eric and I were the brave ones who climber it. We attached them with zip ties, then had to use my knife (Thank you God for cargo pockets) to cut the ends off and turn them down so they didn't pop the balls.

We realized right away that the nets needed to be stretched out.

We had so much fun shooting and little by little kids gathered around the court.

So we gave them balls too and let them try. They definitely needed the camp!

Then we saw the kids coming!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Basket Ball pictures

Here's several random pictures of the basketball camps. In the next couple posts I'll explain more about how the camps were run.

Drills and Games

After every group went to each station once, we lined them up at one end of the court to do dribbling drills up and down the court, and around the world. This was one of my groups, the girl at the front of the line is named Dabagum.

I tried to get some good pictures of the girls doing dribbling drills, most them were of the ball on the ground and the girl chasing after it!

There were some athletic girls, but it definitely came easier for the boys.

Dale, with his unending energy, would run up and down the court dribbling with the kids.

After the drills, if there was time, Paul would form two teams of 5 and have them play a game. It was really exciting to watch them use the skills they had never done before that day.

The kids watching would get so excited and scream loudly when a basket was made.

Notice the man watching on the right, he is Elimane (el-lee-mon) Kaire (Kai-ray), the P.E. teacher at one of the schools. You can read more about him here.

After the drills and game, we'd shout "Grand Cercle! Grand Cercle!" and the kids would make a huge circle around the court. We're talking a few hundred kids some days!

Phillipe would then lead us all in a game similar to the Hokey Pokey. The song even had the words "hookie pookie" in there somewhere. It was so fun and silly, and the kids there are just like kids in America, they love to see adults make absolute fools of themselves. Hopefully we'll be able to post the video at

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Basketball stations

Each day we'd divide the kids into about 6 groups of 5-20 kids, depending on how many we had. Here Jason and Brandi are waiting with a group of kids as we get ready to start. Each group had one of us as a leader, we'd rotate about every 10-15 minutes at Paul's whistle. He did a great job of letting us know about how much time we had left and keeping us on our toes.

Aaron and Missy ran one of two shooting and lay-up stations, Diane is there helping with the group she led.

Here you can see how close the stations are. In the middle of the court (left side of the picture) Paul did ball handling with the kids in a circle. (some days we didn't have the ball handling and just worked it into other stations). To Paul's right, Eric led the dribbling station, he and Alyia are demonstrating a drill. Then to their right, Dale had a shooting station. Paul's left was just as crowded with another shooting station at the hoop, and passing and catching in between.

Here's Jaqueline, one of my girls, trying to dribble. That is probably one of the favorite stations for the kids, but also one of the most difficult. We really had to remind them to use their fingertips and not slap the ball, to not hunch over, and to use their wrists.

Eric had the kids dribble up and down the court, as well as weaving figure eights between the cones. He offered the kids an opportunity to race each other, but they usually just wanted to keep trying at their own pace.

Here Josiah and I are at a shooting station. We really had to stress form to start out, because a lot of them would chuck it overhand, or toss it underhand. But once they got it, it stuck!

Dale ran one of the shooting and lay-up stations. He had such a wonderful enthusiasm that was absolutely contagious. The kids got a big kick out of him! "Yeah Baby!"

Brian is leading the passing station where kids learn the chest pass, and the bounce pass. They practice both passes while standing and while running across the court.

Monday, March 5, 2007


We had often said only half joking that the Senegalese would probably end up using the basketball court as a soccer field. So we were so excited to show up for the graduation ceremony, and see that 10 boys were playing a 5 on 5 basketball game with a soccer ball! We let them borrow a basketball until the ceremony started.

On the left is Mary Anne who introduced our team to everyone, telling them how interesting it is that we were several couples. Then Brian shared about how excited we were to be there and thanked them for making us feel so welcome as Abel translated.

It was so great to hear the kids scream with excitement when they found out we were giving basketballs to their school. Here is a leader of one of the schools we taught kids from. One of the headmasters (a Muslim man) shared how thankful he was we were there, and that it was so neat to have Muslims and Christians gathered together. He also said he knows they cannot repay, and asks that our God repay us. It was really special.

Here is Elimane, the P.E. teacher at one of the schools. He came everyday to take notes and make sure the kids were working hard. Here Brian is handing us some play books for Basketball. It was so cool because he asked if he could just have two of our balls when we're done so he can continue a basketball program, we said we'd have to see. He was so thrilled when we gave him 10 balls and the play books! It was awesome.

Here's Aliou Niang keeping the mass of children back. It was definitely crazy as they all pressed in close from every direction.

They called the kids names by class, which was good since so many have the same names. Each kid came up and got a certificate and t-shirt.

It took a long time to call over 300 names. We probably only had 200 of those kids there for several different reasons, travel distance, a wedding, just didn't go to school that day.

We finally divied up the shirts by size, with someone doing child M, someone doing girls child L, someone else boys child L, etc. It was nice though that if one of the girls whose name I knew from a group I led came up, I was able to be the one to give her the shirt and congratulate her by name.

Here's Kathy giving a shirt out. One thing we have to be careful of was making sure we gave them the shirt with our right hand, as the left hand is the wiping hand and its extremely insulting to touch someone or hand them something with that hand.

Here's Eric with Elimane. Doesn't he just look like a P.E. teacher or coach? The kids really respected and listened to him, we're praying for him to know the Lord one day.

Some of the kids were thrilled to put their shirts on right away.

This Genevieve, one of my girls. She was quite a force when she played in a 5 on 5 girls game, very aggressive player.

This is Jaqueline, another girl I led. Her English was very good and she was teaching me some French during free times. She was so excited to find out Eric was going to be my husband, and actually chased one of the more aggressive local boys away from me by pointing at Eric and shouting "Husband! Husband!"