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H4H Zimbabwe goes Rural Written by Ngoni Mukukula, Zimbabwean Director

Hoops 4 Hope is going rural here in Zimbabwe. We are calling our drive H4H Rural, Zim.

Our aim is to teach our Life Skills Curriculum and basketball to areas that are far and wide in Zimbabwe. We wish to share our undying message of hope and teach skills to people that may not have access to information regularly.

First the Hoops 4 Hope ‘Strike Team’ will tour Chinhoyi, a place to the West of Harare. The place has more than 10 High Schools. This time only those that are in and around the Chinhoyi High School area will benefit. Chinhoyi is well known for the Chirorodziva Caves. This place is both magnificent and historical. It has underground caves – the light and the dark caves. The dark cave is largely unexplored and is home to many bats. They say it has an opening or exit in Kariba, 265 KM away. Such Stories!

In the middle of the light cave is a natural blue pool of water that runs deep until the eye cannot see. The pool opens up all the way into the sky in the middle of the mountains. The pool water runs deep underneath the surrounding mountains and is a favorite of many renowned Scuba Divers. Our own water-fanatic Mark Crandall took a dive into the tempting pool once in 2000, when we completed the bike ride. For the 2 minutes he was in the water our hearts skipped many beats. Yesterday, Mark sent me a text, "will you take a dive into that pool for me, if you dare".  Such is the character of Hoops 4 Hope – creative, courageous and fun.

At Chinhoyi High School, the Strike Team is expected to use some of the ideas freshly acquired from our Cape Town counterparts during the recently held Hoops 4 Hope International All Star Managers Training Workshop. After a day of hard work, then the team will tour the caves.

In the next two weeks the team will be off to the Eastern Highlands – a land of beautiful green and misty mountains. The team hopes to walk in the footsteps of the original Hoops 4 Hope Strike Team that did the Bike ride around Zimbabwe with the rest of the world, tracking the events on the Discovery Channel. Though the current team will not have Mark Crandall, Jeff Gamble or Mark Gamble, it will have one available member of the pioneering team – Ngoni Mukukula, to help re-light the memories.

The current Strike Team (ST) hopes to pass through Rukweza School in Rusape, en-route to Mutare. Eventually the team hopes to strike Honde Valley and Chimanimani. I cannot wait to re-do Resitu Mission, an area close to the Mozambique border. That area will always be on my mind, and to get back will be like full circle for Hoops 4 Hope and me.

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