Written by Zim All Star, Norest Shenje
This article chronicles the arrival and activities of US volunteer, Peter Kazickas!
Hoops 4 Hope Zimbabwe – Harare
Peter touched down on Monday the 20th of June 2011 with his feet running. He could not wait to go on a tour of the Hoops 4 Hope Zimbabwe program. He brought along with him basketballs for the program; a life saver he is.
On the second day of his stay, Tuesday the 21st he spent his afternoon in Glen View with the kids. The atmosphere was electrical as he interacted with the kids and the kids loved him. They showed him great appreciation for the trouble he had gone through bringing them basketballs and incentives. When the basketball was done Peter was taught songs and they danced. This alone was a big Life Skill; the kids learned that the world is one large global village.
On Thursday he spent time in Dzivarasekwa where there were league games. The games took most of the time and the final 30 minutes of their time was the most anticipated. Some kids do not come to the courts to play basketball but for the life skills, song and dance. Soon after the games all the kids got onto the court and the bigger game begun. There was a lot of song and dance but the poem recitation stole the show. The kids recited poems on different life-skills themes.
On Friday the 24th of June we went to Budiriro for yet another camp. There had been league games in the mid morning and when we got there all the games had been played. Some of the kids had already left when we got there but that did not stop us from having fun. Peter taught them basketball and later we jumped into the circle of life. There was so much to share with the kids asking as many questions as they could possibly come up with. Most of their questions showed that they dream of playing in the WNBA and the NBA one day. They asked what it would take to get drafted.
Monday June 27. Glen Norah was incredible, they have been the jewel of the Harare Program for a while now and they did not disappoint. There was big crowd of kids anxiously waiting for their visitor to come through. Peter got so popular with the kids everywhere we went and we were not surprised when the kids in Glen Norah behaved the same too. The hard part was the goodbyes as the kids did not want to leave the courts. A couple of slam dunks did the trick and they all had something to discuss on their way home. The MVPs and All-stars played pick up games with Peter and they loved having him in Glen Norah.
We went to Mufakose on Tuesday the 28th of June. There too was a lot of action as the kids could not hide their excitement. It’s not everyday that they have a visitor from out of this country gracing their practice sessions. The kids in Mufakose where energetic like in any other area we had visited and they loved their visitor. Peter showed a lot of love and appreciation for the kids and soon joined in the singing and dancing.
Thursday the 30th we were in Mabvuku and here is Peter’s testimony:
“Mabvuku was amazing. When we first got there I was a little bit nervous because there were just so many kids, at least even 200. Before I got a chance to introduce myself to the kids sitting on the benches about 4 representatives introduced the whole group the entire group and welcomed me in English. I then returned the favor in Shona, which brought a few laughs. When it was time to begin playing, we only had half a court and 2 basketballs. Since there were so many, the kids had to take turns playing. About 80 kids played the first game while all their friends sang and cheered after every basket. After everyone got a turn to play for just a few minutes the dancing and singing broke out. It was insane! The kids were so happy and sang one song after the next without tire. I couldn’t help but sing and dance along. The amazing thing was that with all that energy, they were the most disciplined kids I have ever seen. Every time Sandra yelled “Team” they echoed “Coach!” when she spoke everyone watched and listened silently and attentively. The children in Mabvuku were truly amazing and I am so excited to see them again.”
As in our culture, we celebrate with a lot of songs and dance and everywhere we went there was a lot of singing and dancing. A way we show our emotions.