One of my highlights for the past year has been getting involved in basketball again for the first time in 15 years. I decided to approach Northwood High School in Durban to see if they wanted help with their basketball program which had been neglected up until then.
Since hiring me and 1 other coach they have decided to invest more time and resources into the fastest growing sport in South Africa. I even got the privilege of going out to look for new players and we found 4 boys that were living in inner-city Durban and whose parents are refugees from the Congo (DRC). They were offered free schooling at Northwood if they wanted to play basketball for the school.
I wanted to approach Northwood because I knew that if I was there it would make it easier for our boys to get accepted into the school. I also thought that it would give our boys an opportunity to get a love for basketball and to become a part of a larger community.
So every Saturday our boys come along to practice and games. They warm-up with the team and during games are the water boys. They feel so proud to be amongst the “big boys” and it is having a positive effect on their self-esteem.
We had one of the boys (Atamuzi) from DRC come spend the night at HTH in our home last week so we could get to know him and hear his story. His family fled DRC when he was 7 and crossed 4 borders to get to South Africa all so that he and his 3 siblings could have a life where they didn’t have to fear for their lives on a daily basis. Being french-speaking he then had to learn English so he could find a school to attend. He was in a pretty hectic school in Durban when we met him and he told us of all the violence that he had witnessed. He even had a friend who was shot and school and passed away from the injury.
It was a really eye-opening experience for our Hearts that Hope children. I hope it showed them that no matter how busy we are in life we always have the capacity to reach out to others in need and give them hope for their future.
Please join us as we continue to pray for Atamuzi and the other boys from the DRC; and pray with us that the interaction with the basketball team will give our kids the ability to see the world beyond them.