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!"