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CLICK HERE for the photo album
Team Members: Pat Kekic (leader), Kyle Kriegel, Denisha Akpan, Holly Page and Brian Ozols
Thursday, October 5
Holly reported for the team today.
They gained 3 campers in the morning and had a great time with the kids. It had rained earlier and local helpers squeegeed the court for them; a huge help. There was cloud cover and a cool breeze, and even though it was in the 80’s, it was nice.
The afternoon camp was rained on, but instead of calling it off, the teams went inside an adjacent classroom and switched it up a little. They had their small groups first, then did mass ball handling. After the rain stopped, they finished the stations outside. It was a great day with the kids!
Wednesday, October 4
Today’s morning and afternoon camps (Camp 3) were the same set of kids, just as respectful and eager to learn as the other campers. There were 48 in this camp. There were clouds and cool breezes in the morning, but when everyone returned for the afternoon camp, it was again hot with no clouds in sight. Pat worked in extra water breaks to give them a break from the heat.
Pat, Brian & Kyle rode the school buses again today with the kids. They like to make the kids laugh before they’re done for the day.
The team joined the Wednesday night group on campus for around 50 people who live there; teachers, workers, and other students. Dinner was served afterwards. Brian says that they’re eating like kings!
Tuesday, October 3
It was a fantastic first day of camps! But it was H-O-T!! It rained the night before and the humidity was high. Kyle checked the temp in the afternoon and with the heat index it was 96 degrees. Pat added additional water breaks for the kids and rotated teams in the shady area of the court to give them a break from the sun. Before the afternoon camp began, the team asked for a break from the heat and were answered with cool breezes and cloud cover. Thankfully it cools down to the upper 60’s at night.
The kids are wonderful, so respectful and eager to learn. They tried every drill. It’s truly a pleasure to work with them. When the coaches arrived on the court, half of the campers ran up to them and said thank you for coming. They are becoming more comfortable with our coaches each year.
There were 52 in the morning (camp 1), and 49 in the afternoon (camp 2). Tomorrow will be Camp 3 for both morning and afternoon camps, with camps 1 & 2 returning on Thursday. Amose, one of the local coaches, has a significant test tomorrow, and camps were rearranged to accommodate having one less coach on the court.
The breakout sessions were held inside where it was a little bit cooler and less distracting. The kids are so attentive and listen to every word. They’re locked in to what the coaches are sharing.
After the afternoon camp was over, the coaches rode the buses with the students as they left the campus, getting to see the rural areas where many of their campers live.
Susanna, the hospitality coordinator on campus, has been doing a great job of taking care of the team, feeding them well and making sure they have what they need. She’s the best!
Monday, October 2
Denisha reports for the team:
We haven't had much interaction with the kids considering today was a holiday in India and camp doesn't start till tomorrow. Thankfully, we've had a good amount of time to rest from traveling, plan for the camp, and see the city. We are excited to start camp and love on the kids.
We went to the Bengaluru Palace today and took a tour of the inside and the outside gardens. We also went to commercial street to shop for souvenirs.
We ask for continued health for the team, quick connections to be formed with the campers, and good weather.
Saturday, September 30
The team arrived safely in Bangalore and have settled in for a much-needed night's rest in the guest house on campus. We are grateful for their safe travels!
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CLICK HERE for the photo album
Team Members: Pat Kekic; David Neumann; Lisa Fuentes; Cameron Fuentes; and Alvin Daniliuc
Saturday, Oct 1
The India Team has arrived safely! They are settling into their rooms for the night. (They're 10.5 hours ahead of us.) Pat said their flights were on time and uneventful. Their luggage arrived as well. We are grateful!
Tomorrow they'll spend time with Nathan & Christine, get some rest in the afternoon, and prepare for camps to begin on Monday.
Sunday, Oct 2
The India Team reports:
We have had a busy day. We visited Nathan and Christine's family and friends. We all loved getting to know them (even when we did not understand). Lisa and Cameron shared their life story with the women's group while David, Alvin and Pat shared with the youth group.
The Smith family, Susanna (our group coordinator) and driver Stephen ate a wonderful Indian restaurant. The food was delicious! We visited the temple at the highest point of the city. The temple was closed for renovations but the view of the city was incredible.
Highlights of our trip: driving on the roads (2 lane road can turn into 4 or 5 at any point), getting to know others in a different culture, the amazing stories the people shared with us on how their needs were provided for and how they were healed, and people's smiling faces.
Monday, Oct 3
Here’s Pat’s report from India today:
Today’s camp was excellent! The kids were so attentive and polite. They tried every single drill, regardless of their skill level. There was no complaining. It was a great day.
The PE Coach, Mr. Varghese, had the kids lined up in teams and ready to go when the coaches arrived at the courts for both camps. It was nice to have such organization. There were 47 kids in the morning camp; 20 girls and 27 boys, and 52 in the afternoon camp; 23 girls and 29 boys. It was a great group.
The coaches did a great job leading the kids through the drills. Lisa and Cameron had the girls’ teams, so their teams were larger. Team time went very well, once held in the chapel, and once held outside in the shade. Both have advantages. In the chapel, there aren’t as many outside distractions, but the quiet conversations of other campers in their groups can be heard. Outside under the trees, the groups are farther apart and can’t hear the others but there are often other distractions. Thankfully today, there were very few. In fact, it was so nice, they may stay outside again tomorrow.
The high today was 87 degrees and very humid. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed the break every time the sun would go behind a cloud. There are several water breaks built into the daily schedule, but the heat still bears down.
The food has been wonderful. Susanna, the campus guest coordinator, has been fantastic. She prepared their Indian dish of beef fry and rice for lunch. The coaches enjoyed dinner with the Smith’s. The menu consisted of baked spaghetti, green beans, watermelon and delicious pound cake. Again, delish!
The coaches are sleeping well. Everyone seems to be rested. The guest house has good ventilation, so even though it’s not air conditioned, the fan is enough to keep them cool. They are awakened at 6:00A by the sound of birds outside their windows.
Tuesday, Oct 4
Pat reports that today was another great day! They had the same number of campers today as yesterday. They were attentive and worked hard at the drills.
The coaches are doing so well together and with the kids. Sanjib, our local coach, has a fellow coach to assist him and that works well. They have been a huge blessing as part of the team.
Tomorrow Camp 1 will end in the morning. It’s always a bitter sweet time, closing out a camp with awards, certificates and much celebration, but saying goodbye. Typically, camp 2 would end in the afternoon, but because of the need to keep camp 3 kids from going hard all day long on Thursday, we adjusted the schedule and had camps 2 & 3 switch spots. It works well. So Camp 3 will begin tomorrow afternoon and Camp 2 will end Thursday morning.
Susanna, the campus guest coordinator, has been absolutely wonderful! She made breakfast today of pancakes, homemade cherry jam, eggs, chicken sausage and fresh fruit. It was delicious! Lunch was chicken curry with white rice, also delicious. She made dinner for the team and the president of the academy and his wife. The menu included chicken and rice with a creamy sauce and it was amazing!
Dr. Joy shared his heart for the Indian community with the team. He and his wife were living in the US, but felt the call to return to India. They bought a parcel of land in Bangalore and started to work. Their campus now has 3,300 students, and plans to increase to 4,000 soon. They are working on a football/soccer field as well. They recycle everything. Everything. The team enjoyed the 2 hour tour of the campus and learned a lot about the way it is run.
Wednesday, Oct 5
David reports from India today.
The first camp was an exciting one! The campers received their awards and certificates today. They listened well as our coaches shared about their lives.
The 3rd camp began in the afternoon. That was a lot of fun too. It was good to meet a new set of kids and show them how the camp runs. It was reported that the girls are better players, easier to teach. They listened well and worked harder to do the drills. There was a significant number of girls in this camp too, approximately 24 girls and 24 boys.
It seemed hotter in the afternoon because there was little cloud cover. The coaches knew what to look for in the kids if they were overheating and would send them for a water break. They’ve noticed that on day 1 of a camp, the kids come in their regular school clothes, which are heavy and hot. On the second and third days, they come in shirts and shorts and are much more comfortable.
Since the morning students had to go back to school in the afternoon, they didn’t get their basketballs at the end of camp. When the coaches showed up after school and presented them with the balls, they were thrilled. The principal asked if the coaches would like to join the kids in the 45 minute ride on the school buses as they took the kids home. They of course said yes. Alvin and Pat rode on one bus, and David & Cameron rode on another.
These buses are shiny and clean, not the typical school bus we see here. They are also larger and can hold 100 kids each. It is quite a sight to see this large shiny bus traveling on narrow back roads of Hosur, dropping off kids along the way.
When the coaches returned to the campus and got cleaned up, Pat and Lisa went to a nearby bizarre and returned with really neat snacks. That was a fun experience, getting to sample many unique flavors.
The team is enjoying the meals each day. The breakfast menu consisted of a crepe made of ground lentils and served with coconut chutney. It was hot and very unique. When they met in the cafeteria to eat, Pat and Lisa went forward and got the last 2 eating utensils. So the rest of the team ate their meal Indian style; with the fingers on the right hand! It was another new experience. The meal is delivered to their table in a huge bowl, maybe 3’ in diameter and 2’ deep. This was typically an amount made for a larger number of folks in the cafeteria, but the team was blessed to be given a bowl of their own. This meal today was a very spicy hot chicken and rice dish served with a 4” fried rice disk and cole slaw. Their lips were burning with every bite, which amused the others there. They were served lots of water, but that really didn’t help much. Bananas at the end helped calm the heat.
The coaches are sleeping well and feeling healthy. They are of course tired at the end of the day, but that’s expected. As long as they’re sleeping well, they have the energy to stay strong through the day.
Tomorrow morning is the last session for Camp 2, and in the afternoon, the second session for Camp 3.
Thursday, Oct 6
Alvin brings today's report from India.
Camp 2 was a lot of fun this morning. After an exciting time on the court, the campers were presented with awards and certificates. They listened intently as the coaches shared about their lives and asked great questions. When the kids were asked what they wanted to do when they grow up, the theme was to show love and kindness to others.
The coaches presented this camp with their basketballs after school, just as they had done yesterday. Pat and Lisa joined them on the bus as it took them home. Pat had a lot of fun with the kids using his whistle at bus stops.
The coaches made changes in the structure of Camp 3. They introduced new games to the mix; foot races, partner drills, knockout. At the end of the foot races, the kids would have to sit and wait their turn. Coaches were good to enforce the rules of the game and good sportsmanship. Campers were not familiar with knockout and worked hard to learn the game.
The coaches have fallen in love with Susanna’s cooking. She makes the best meals. Today at lunch, she had prepared a meal that featured mackerel. As she made her way to deliver lunch from the cafeteria to the guest house, all of a full 10 steps, crows swooped down and attacked the fish! Needless to say, after the shock wore off, she got another fish to serve the team. For dinner, she prepared chicken parmigiana, lady fingers (fried okra), and a delicious brownie cake for dessert. Lisa made coconut lemonade using the juice from the green coconuts the team encountered today. These coconuts are young and very tender, but not sweet. As the coconut ages and dries out, it becomes sweeter. This too was another neat experience!
Alvin has engaged well with the locals. He studied their dialect briefly before going to India, and knowing how to communicate with them opened doors to a deeper connection it seems. The coaches may be able to tour the school of a new friend Alvin met on the volleyball court this week. (He owns a school Pre-K – 12 and would love to share the campus with the coaches.) Alvin has also enjoyed getting to know Godwin, the grounds keeper. He is amazed at the accuracy Godwin has when cutting the grass with a machete.
It seemed warmer today; there was little cloud cover. This didn’t stop the coaches and the kids from having fun. Tomorrow, Camp 3 will conclude in the morning, before the afternoon heat comes around.
We are so grateful that everyone is healthy and resting well.
Friday, Oct 7
Cameron reports from India today.
Camp 3 concluded today after lots of fun and celebration. The kids received awards, certificates, and after school, their basketballs, which is always a highlight of a camp. Coach Varghese thanked the coaches for their hard work through the week.
After lunch, the tired coaches took naps. It’s been a full week. When school was out, they rode the bus with the kids into town and were dropped off at a bazaar for some shopping. The team met the Smiths, Susanna, Sanjib and others who assisted in camps for dinner. They enjoyed a variety of curry dishes.
Tomorrow morning, they will leave for Bangalore for more shopping and sightseeing. Nathan and Sanjib will accompany them throughout the day. Their trek back home begins at 8:45P from Bangalore and ends with the team back in Waco midday on Sunday.
Thank you all for your support this week! This has been an amazing trip.
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CLICK HERE for the photo album
Team members are (L-R): Pat Kekic (Leader), Julie Zakhary, Holly Page, Jamie Amos, Jonathan Scheffrahn, and Melissa Jones
SATURDAY APRIL 11
Today was the last camp for camp 3, closing out the 2015 Hoops for Hope camp in India. Pat led the camp through drills and competitions as well as presented medals, certificates and balls. Jonathan shared with the campers for the 3rd time and nailed it. Each coach loved on the kids as they have each day. It was a bittersweet ending; hard to say goodbye, but grateful to know we’ve taught the kids how to be better basketball players and better people. We’ve seen many things over the course of the week and believe lives are changed, which is our primary goal in going. So to close out the week, we’ve decided to share some of the comments the campers wrote for the team to give you a sense of what the camps meant to them.
THURSDAY APRIL 9
Today was another hot one. It’s always amazing how the kids don’t seem to be fazed by the heat. And we are so grateful for His sustaining work in our coaches as well!
This was the last day for the 2nd camp. It’s fun to see how quickly the kids learn the routines over the course of 3 days making camps run so smoothly. The morning ended with lots of celebration – presenting awards and certificates, and giving each kid a ball. That’s always a highlight of the camps.
Jonathan did a great job sharing with the camp again today, this time with the 2nd camp. We’re grateful they are very attentive and have good questions for their coach.
You’ll see in the pics an older India youth who is helping out primarily with Melissa’s team. Her name is Chrizzy. She has been there at the school a couple of years and as a great basketball player, she wanted to help. She is a strong believer in what Hoops for Hope stands for. She will be a great help to the Indian students when our team has left.
The 3rd camp met in the afternoon and once again brought their excitement with them. The coaches and campers are making great connections through learning basketball and life skills.
Tomorrow, Jonathan will share once more to close out the 3rd camp in the morning. This will give the coaches the afternoon to rest. Then our team will treat those who served them so well to a nice meal. There will be sweet fellowship among these family members, celebrating what was done this week.
Points to remember with us…
• Gratitude for Dad's sustaining power shown to the team all week in the heat
• Desire for the lives of the campers and coaches to be forever changed because of their time together this week
WEDNESDAY APRIL 8
Just when they thought it couldn’t possibly get any hotter… it did. Today was the hottest yet! The team stayed hydrated so thankfully there were no health problems.
Camp 1 concluded today with a lot of celebration! Awards were handed out to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, and each kid received a ball and certificate. It was great fun to end on such a high note, even though it’s never easy saying goodbye.
Jonathan did a great job sharing today. The campers listened intently and seem to understand.
The kids of camp 3 started in the afternoon. They’ve been talking with their classmates who were in camps 1 and 2 and knew what to expect in their camp, picking up on the drills quickly. They were eager to learn. They didn’t even want to take water breaks, but the coaches knew it was necessary and made everyone take water breaks. The afternoon campers didn’t seem to be affected by the heat at all!
After the last camp was over, Melissa, Holly and Julie ran straight to the pool and jumped in to cool off. It felt wonderful after being on the court all day in the extreme heat.
Everyone is healthy and resting well. They are enjoying the homemade meals Christine and the others are providing for them. The team is treated very well.
The buzz around the school is that the camps are highly organized and effective, and exceed the expectations of leadership! We are grateful for that good report! The PE teachers are watching and learning the drills. The team will leave training materials there so the campers can continue their work on basketball skills.
Please join us as we tell Dad…
• For camp 3 in the morning to continue their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn
• With gratefulness that the team is resting well and healthy
• Again for cloud cover and breezes
• With gratefulness for the hosts and hostesses and the wonderful way they care for the team
TUESDAY APRIL 7
Pat’s update for today starts off with gratitude for a full 8 hours of sleep last night! Julie slept around 6 hours and Jamie between 4-5! This has definitely been an improvement over the first couple of nights. The team is adjusting to the time difference and heat. Dr. Joy, president of the school, said it’s the hottest he remembers in over 30 years of living in India.
This morning before camps began, Dr. Joy, Jonathan and Melissa climbed the water tower for a beautiful view of the court and surrounding campus grounds.
As camp began and they moved into stations, Pat felt nauseous from dehydration. There was a visiting intern there who stepped in with a 7 minute timer to keep things going. After a few minutes of rest inside the house and a large bottle of water, Pat felt better and was able to continue. They were so grateful for the occasional cloud that blocked the sun, even for a few minutes. They felt every bit of the 100 degree weather.
The camps went very well today. The coaches were enthusiastic and the kids responded. By the second day, the kids know the routine and things go much smoother. The kids love the competitions! In fact, they made even a basic drill a race.
Despite the heat, the 46 acre campus is green and beautiful. There are men who are out each day watering the grass and vegetation. The campus is self-sustaining and a sight to see. Everything is designed with a purpose and they use and reuse everything. They have a lake to collect rain water to irrigate the grounds. It’s also stocked with fish for eating. They even harvest methane gas from cow manure to provide electricity for cooking!
After camps today, Jamie and Pat enjoyed some time in the pool. It was a great way to cool down after a full day.
Tomorrow is the last day of camp 1. It’s always a fun day of camp, starting with camp and team pics and ending with the presentation of a basketball and certificate for each camper, as well as medals for the first, second and third place winners of the competitions. It’s a time of high energy and celebration.
Tomorrow also is the first day for camp 3. (Camp 2 will conclude on Thursday.) It’s hard to say goodbye to the kids you’ve worked with in a camp, but it’s fun to learn a whole new group.
We ask for …
• continued health and rest for the team
• energy to start a new camp in the afternoon
• quick connections between the coaches and campers
• cloud cover
MONDAY APRIL 6
Pat reports that the camps today were awesome… HOT but awesome! The Indian youth are very respectful, 100% attentive, and tried their very best to do what they were instructed to do.
The first camp in the morning was filled with 50 7th & 8th graders eager to learn. Despite the heat, the kids had fun. The coaches kept mass ball handling, station drills and competitions moving with high energy. The young ladies are dressed in long skirts making some of the in-between-the-legs drills difficult to impossible to do, so the team made quick adjustments. There was one student who asked to go back to the classroom because of the heat. These teams of 50 students are selected from close to 00 7th & 8th graders.
After lunch, a much needed break for the team, the afternoon camp began. There were 53 in this camp. It reached 99 degrees in the sun, and with the humidity, it felt like… a very humid 99 degrees! Thankfully an occasional breeze would blow through. A couple of the afternoon campers also went back to their classroom because of the heat. The camp schedule has built-in water breaks and campers have been told they can get water at any time from water there onsite. This hasn’t slowed the pace at all.
The students are in summer session and are typically out at 2:30P. We’ve adjusted the afternoon camp schedule to finish by 3:30P which still gets them out a little earlier than planned.
It was a blessing for use of the chapel, typically used daily by the seminary students, to be opened up to them. This is a week off for the students. It was much cooler there, and the overhead fans helped tremendously. There is one shade tree beside the court we were hopeful to be able to use, but it’s infested with red ants that bite.
Today’s focus was I HAVE A PURPOSE. The campers listened intently as their coach shared in the breakout sessions, and as Pat shared when they were all back together.
One of the highlights so far has been the wonderful homemade meals Christine and her mother are blessing the team with each day. A typical Indian breakfast is eggs and toast, so they’ve enjoyed a variation of eggs. They enjoy an alternating American and Indian meal for lunch and dinner. That’s been a real treat!
Everyone is healthy and feeling well. They’ve run into sleep problems. Pat has slept maybe 6-8 hours since they left Waco, and last night Julie and Jamie only slept for 1-2 hours. And this lack of sleep is not typical for them. The time difference of 10.5 hours has made a huge difference.
Pat shared that he was concerned about running the camp today on so little sleep, and for Julie and Jamie to keep going too, as well as the whole team getting acclimated to the heat. He knew they would have to depend completely on Dad for strength. And He showed up in His strength and not only got them through it, but gave them a great first day. No one could tell how little sleep they had gotten by the way they kept going and the energy level they had with the kids. Dad stepped in!
The team is working so well together! Julie is handling the footwork station wonderfully, like a pro. Jonathan is really enjoying the kids and doing well with the passing station. Holly and Jamie are doing great with dribbling and offensive moves. Melissa Jones is a doing great as the demonstrator and coach of the shooting station. We’ve been blessed with Sanjeev, a local coach from the high school, a full 5’2” tall. He’s doing a great job with the rebounding station.
• For sleep for the team. We are asking that their bodies will adjust to the heat and time difference and that rest will come.
• For acclimation to the heat – for them not to burn in the sun or become overheated.
• For continued good connections with the campers, that their conversations and actions will spark a desire to know what makes this team different.
• With gratitude that Dad is there to sustain and strengthen them when they are at the end of themselves.
• With gratitude for delicious meals and wonderful hosts!
SUNDAY APRIL 5
Today started with fellowship on campus with the community of brothers and sisters. The team rested in the afternoon and prepared for camps that begin tomorrow. They scoped out the court where camps will be held which is within walking distance from their rooms.
We are asking for rest for the team as they prepare for camps tomorrow so they will start the day feeling strong and ready to hold high-energy camps, and for the kids who will attend to be open to learn and connect quickly with their coaches.
SATURDAY APRIL 4
The team arrived safe and sound this morning, with all their luggage! They are in their rooms on campus hopefully getting a good night's rest. (They're 10.5 hours ahead of Texas.) They will join a local fellowship with our hosts tomorrow morning, rest in the afternoon and then prepare for the first camp Monday morning.
We are grateful for a safe journey and that all their luggage arrived complete and undamaged; and are asking for jet lag to be minimized and for rest to come; for the team to bond tomorrow as they prepare for the first day of camp; for health as they adjust to this hot climate; for the 154 kids who will attend the camp this week, that they will be excited to learn how to be better basketball players and better people.
FRIDAY APRIL 3
We are thrilled to report that the India Team is on their way! The Waco team left DFW this afternoon headed for Dubai on a 14HR 45MIN flight. They've reported from the plane that they all have a row of 4 seats to themselves, and free wifi the entire trip! Then in Dubai, Melissa Jones will join them from London and they will continue on to Bangalore, India. The last leg is 4HR, putting them on the ground around 8:45A tomorrow morning our time.
We remember our team for safety in travel, the arrival of all their luggage, and health for the duration. They will hold 3 basketball camps for 154 7th & 8th graders beginning on Monday.