Women's Basketball Blog From Overseas - Day 6
Day 6 Video
Day 6 (September 7)
Today was our first day in Saly. We actually had a civilized wake up call, getting up at 9 a.m., which was heaven sent.
Our first stop of the day was to the Bandia Animal Reserve for a safari. We loaded up in three different eight-passenger trucks and headed out for what turned out to be an incredible experience. We saw giraffes and our guide Amade explained how the males have darker markings than the females. The zebras were awesome too, with some mingling among the giraffes. There were many different types of antelopes and birds. Amade got off the truck and went in search of rhinos by following its markings. They entire tour staff went out of their way to make sure we saw everything. They were truly amazing. We also saw crocodiles, monkeys, hyenas and much more.
After lunch in the town, we came back to the hotel and had about an hour and a half to hang on in the hotel's pools.
At 5:30 p.m., we left the hotel for a basketball clinic in Mbour. We didn't know what to really expect as far as how many kids would be there, how many hoops we'd have, what the court would be like. All we knew was that it was outdoors.
The bus pulled up and we walked through a gate and there was a cement court with over 200 boys and girls clapping and cheering our arrival. It was amazing. We split into five different groups and taught a different skill, like dribbling, pivots, shooting style, etc. The kids were so great. They were tremendously grateful for us being there. A few of us know French and were able to communicate but those that didn't still had were to communicate by example, smiles and high fives. It showed us that basketball, and sports in general, bring all walks of life together and is a language in itself. The sun had gone down when ran the circle giving everyone high fives to say thank you. They then gave their version of a Senegalese thank you. A few musicians arrived and started to play and all the kids started dancing and had us join in. It was an incredible experience. One that none of us will ever forget.
Q&A with sophomore Nicole Hung
What was your favorite animal that you saw on the safari today?
The rhino because our guide spent about 20-25 minutes tracking its prints. We got off the truck and got within 100 yards of it.
What did you think of the clinic in Mbour?
It was an extremely unique experience. There were over 200 people who came and we don't know how much trouble they had to get there. And they were willing to learn. Even though we couldn't speak each other's language, my group used sign to communicate. It's a testamate that sport can bring people together, that it's a universal language.
Did you form a bond with anyone in particular at the clinic?
There was a 16-year-old girl named Willy. She was in the first group we had. At the end of the clinic she came up to me and wanted a picture with me and then introduced me as her friend to her friends.
What'd you think of the traditional Senegal thank you?
It was extremely overwhelming but in a good way. It was one of the coolest things I've experienced.
What do you take away from the clinic?
How grateful they were that we were there - spending time with them, teaching and learning from each other. To see in their faces how grateful they were was amazing. It made us all appreciative of our own lives.