My Family

My Family

Friday, August 10, 2012

The purpose

You may be asking why in the world did we go over to Africa.  Well, for 7 years now our church has been going to Africa to hold Upward Basketball camps for the children in a couple of the villages.  This year we held a morning basketball camp at the court where we were staying and then one in the afternoon at Nord Foire a village about 10 minutes away.

The camps are about 1 1/2 hours long and the kids are put onto teams.  There were 3 of us girl coaches and 4 guy coaches with about 8-10 kids on each team.  The kids perform different drills from dribbling and passing to shooting.  Now the boys are so serious about their drills and even do a scrimmage against the other teams.  However, the girls are so cute and just loving being around us.  They have so much fun doing their drills, but a couple of days we actually played Guinar, Guinar, Har.  This is Wolof for Chicken, Chicken, Sheep - we couldn't figure out the translation for Duck, Duck Goose.  We did let the girls scrimmage a couple of times - whew - I have never blown a whistle so much and they don't know the rule about no grabbing!!

Playing another little game we made up.

These are the little kids we had to turn away because we didn't have enough room for everyone.  It was so sad.  I guess we need more coaches next time.

Jason with his team at the Grand Yoff camp in the morning.

We didn't have a lot of girls the first day so we combined the blue and green teams.  Kayla and Angie showing them the next drill.

Showing the girls how to shoot.

This little boy was on Jason's team and was so little so during the scrimmages, Bro. Todd would play with him on the side.

At our afternoon camp at Nord Foire.  This area had a little bit more in terms of material things.  For example, they ALL wore tennis shoes whereas at the morning camp, they all wore flip flops and played bare foot.

We are the first group to ever really come to this area.  There is a guy "Coach" that heads up a lot of the basketball in this area.  He teaches the little kids drills and he has a lot of respect in that area.  The first day we drove up and we were about 10 minutes late due to traffic and all of the kids were already lined up doing drills with coach.  We were definitely in for something different at this camp.

All lined up and ready to go.

There were a couple of girls - Lindy and Amanda - who are Journeyman, which is part of the International Mission Board and they stay 2 years there in Dakar, Senegal.  They were pretty excited to be able to wear shorts since they aren't allowed to wear them anywhere except in their house.  We wore our skirts anywhere outside the camp area though.

They were a huge help with translating for us along with some of the young adults from the local church.  Lindy is actually from a town about 45 minutes from us and graduated from FSU.  We tried not to hold that against her, but we all got along so well.  They were such a big help from translating to helping us shop at the local artisan market.  We left them some of our American food to help them out!!  Just think about not being able to get some of our American candy for 2 years :(

Lindy getting in line to receive her candy.  She didn't realize we were bringing American candy and she LOVES tootsie rolls.

So back to the basketball camps.  After they played basketball for about an hour it was time for one of the most important parts of why we were there - story time.  Our leader Mike would tell stories from the Old Testament ie. creation and Abraham & Isaac.  The Senagalese people are mostly Muslim so they understand the Old Testament but don't believe that Jesus is the Savior.  However, on the last day Mike talks about God sending the perfect sacrifice Jesus to be our Savior.

Mike telling the daily stories to the kids.  Coach is in the red taking a picture and David is to Mike's left.  David was our translator at this camp and he is a Christian who lives there and works at the Embassy.  It is amazing to see what people have to give up to become a follower of Christ in Africa - family and friends because the country is mostly Muslim.

After each camp we go to the player's homes to talk to their parents.  This is a great way for us to get into the homes, because the missionaries there aren't able to get into the homes so easily.  This is definitely an out of comfort zone feeling, but the Senagalese people welcomed us with open arms and were so sweet.  As you can see from some of the pictures, these are nothing like our homes - no doors, just a sheet covering the doorway, they slept on pads on the floor, washed their clothes outside in a bucket and the babies as well got a bath in a bucket.

These kids loved us so much because they were so excited to take us to their homes.  Here's Jason and Devin getting ready to go visit a few homes.  We may have seen 2 or 3 homes each day after camp, but there were probably about 8 kids following us into the homes.  We would turn around and we had a big party following us in the streets.

Kayla and Angie in one of the homes in Nord Foire.  This home was a block from the ocean.

We thank them for letting their children come to the camp, tell them what we do there, ask them how we can pray for them and offer them the Jesus video in their language.  We probably visited about 12 homes and one of them asked us to come back after she had a chance to watch the video.  We returned with one of the missionaries, Pam,  the next day and found out that the lady was converted to a Muslim when she got married, but she asked lots of questions about Jesus.  So it was a great visit and I'm sure Pam will continue to visit her.

It was a long hard 4 days of basketball camp, but it was all worth it when you saw these kids faces each day as they would come running into camp and were so excited.

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