REACH in South Africa: Day 8
A dozen REACH (Rush Equipment Assisting Children) Ambassadors from Colorado Rush and Rush Pikes Peak have touched down in Durban, South Africa where they will be running soccer camps, and a tournament for children in Durban along with handing out hundreds of pieces of donated used soccer equipment.
Rushsoccer.com will keep a running journal of the Ambassadors 10-day trip. Tune in often to see how it is going!
(11.23.12) Day 8 entry is from Connor Georgopoulos
Friday was the day we were finally going on the safari. Only half of us were able to go though due to the sickness that had gone around the previous night. This wouldn't stop us though, and those who were still healthy left bright and early for a long drive to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game park. When we got to the park, we started seeing animals right away, spotting a couple of giraffes in the distance. After that we saw a few antelopes and a few warthogs. But just a little while later, we spotted a herd of about 10 elephants up un a hill pretty far from us. However, one of the best spottings came a little later when we saw a couple of rhinos no more than 30 feet from our van. It was incredible seeing those huge animals so close to us. We also saw more giraffes that were close and also some baboons and some water buffalo. After the safari part ended, we hopped on a boat and set out on St. Lucia lake to try and spot some more animals. We saw a few groups of hippos right up close, about 20 feet from the boat, and also some crocodiles from a little further away. After the boat tour we grabbed some dinner and started heading back to the house after a very long day of exploring and searching for wild animals.
(11.22.12) Day 7 entry is from Amy Gargala and Jenna Hartley
After waking up and making sandwiches again, we got them all packed and put into the van to deliver. Handing out the packages is a good time because all of the kids sing to us and they just make your day better. A simple bag of food means far more to them than I could ever comprehend. They are all so happy and just seeing their faces light up when they get the food is eye opening and shows me how much I should be thankful for, especially since today is Thanksgiving. The players that were in the clinic stayed behind to help there while the rest of us, including me, went to the fields to help set up the tournament. First were the eight year olds. They are such a blast to coach because they are so happy and like to have fun while playing. The tournament continued with the next ages and we continued to get our teams for the tournament at the children's festival. After all the age groups played, the REACH team and Ross made our own team and scrimmaged against some of the older players from the church. Of course, we won 5-0. After the game we went home and had a very special Thanksgiving dinner that was delicious. Only some of us weren't at dinner though due to a awful case of food poisoning that sickeningly progressed through the night. Later that night more and more of us got sick and it progressed into a total of nine people in the group getting sick. Those people, including me, didn't go on the safari that was planned and stayed at home and slept. Even so, nothing could put a damper on this trip, and our
African Thanksgiving turned out to be a blast, right up until the end.
(11.21.12) Day 6 entry is from Demri Scott
Today was a really crazy day for everyone! But today, it was a really crazy day for me. It was my birthday! I would have never imagined that I would spend my birthday with hundreds of new friends! So, to clarify, we started out my 17th birthday by making meals for the kids. First we had to butter the bread and make it into a sandwich and then we had to put together a packet with an orange, chips and a piece of candy. Seems pretty easy right? Except we had to do it for 700 meals. To say the least it was overwhelming. But we made the meals in record time while listening to Taylor Swift (the lyrics are still ringing in my head). Despite this tedious work, we all knew that it was going to pay off especially since we were going into Bottle Brush later in the day. When we went into the community, the kids' living conditions really shocked me. It's crazy to think that the kids that we had been working with all week lived in small shacks barely half the size of my room. And when we went into the community center, the kids' faces were priceless. You could tell that they appreciated every single bag of chips, oranges, and sandwiches. Another priceless moment happened when the kids sang me the happy birthday song. It gave me so many goosebumps and chills. But we only spent a short time in the community itself because we had another day of the soccer camp to run. And once we made it to the field, it was a complete mob scene. I even wondered if this was what a celebrity felt like. But this was a little different. The kids walked for miles and miles to make sure that they got an early glimpse of the those precious soccer balls. And when we hopped out of that van, it became pretty apparent that everyone who came to the camp yesterday brought a friend. Everyone was grabbing and pulling at us laughing, looking for the balls. Eventually, we started the camp. That wasn't the only thing that started though, sheets of rain started coming down onto the field. Needless to say, we all came back to the house looking like we just stepped into a mud bath. And once dinner rolled around, I heard the birthday song again, for the second time, with a cake and candles and it made me think if there was a better way to spend a birthday. Even though I'm a world away (literally) from my close friends and extended family, I couldn't have asked for a better day.
(11.20.12) Day 5 entry is from Kaitlyn and Jaime Brunworth:
After breakfast we took a trip to the grocery store for a few snacks. Jamie bought a big bottle of Powerade that looked suspiciously dark. She took a sip, gagging, and said it tasted like cough syrup. Naturally, we all had to try it. Everyone took a sip of the Powerade, laughing and getting grossed out by the overly strong, syrup-y taste until a work lady came over to tell the stupid American kids that you are supposed to dilute the concentrated Powerade before you drink it. That gave us and her a good laugh! We headed to the beach and played in the Indian Ocean waves for awhile. We buried Jenna in the sand, looking like a pregnant mermaid, which was quite entertaining, not only for us, but for the other people in the beach. At soccer camp in the afternoon, about 180 kids showed up which was about 80 more than the amount that showed up the previous day. We split the kids up into groups, and I must say that I had the best group. At first, the Bottlebrush lady coaches and I just stood and watched our group play, but soon enough, we joined in. Our game had some great dribbling moves and combination passes. The littlest, most skillful boy, Dumisani, and his friend, Njabul, beat Ross on the dribble when he joined our game. After camp was over, a couple of the girls helped Ross run the coaching clinic while the rest of us played a huge game of duck duck goose, African style. Later in the evening as we were eating dinner, a big flying bug buzzed around the table. When we checked outside, we saw thousands of flying ants swarming around in the courtyard, and the geckos were out feasting on them. The evening ended after we weaved ahundred more bracelets to give to the kids! What a day!!!!!
(11.19.12) Day 4 entry is from Stephanie Deines
Monday 19th, the day began with breakfast at 8AM. When the bus arrived we all loaded in with our cameras at the ready trying to catch a glimpse of Moses Stadium. After arriving at the stadium we got tickets, and loaded the sky cart, an elevator that takes you to the top of Moses stadium. The view is extraordinary giving the best view of Durban. Following the trip to Moses we headed to the markets where our final costs ranged from 200 Rands to 1,694 Rands. After a lunch of tuna sandwiches in the bus we returned home and finished pumping up thirty soccer balls. Ross gave us our coaching plan and we headed out to the fields to begin the children's camp. The camp lasted for two hours with the kids rotating between stations. It was a time filled with high fives and smiles. The beauty of the day was witnessing the smiles that lit the kids faces when they scored a goal. Camp ended, Rush cheers echoed, and the kids left with smiles. We all loaded the bus and headed home for dinner. After dinner we finally found our camp tour song and learned the cups choreography that is showed in Pitch Perfect. Two hours later we headed to bed.
Day 3 entry if from Taylor Dugdale:
(11.18.12) Today we woke up and had breakfast as normal. All of us had the opportunity to go to mass or went and played soccer. The mass was very different compared to the mass I usually go to. We sang, learning a new song in a different language, and we heard a Bible passage. This experience was unforgettable, like everything else. After mass, we went outside and played soccer with some of the kids that traveled all the way from the orphanage to see us. The first time we saw them and saw them play was just incredible, we were all amazed. After that day we had the first coach’s clinic. Many of these men and woman have never played before or have played all their life, but had no official coaching. All of the coach’s went through basic soccer skills training and they had smiles on their faces and were just having a blast. Some of us had the opportunity to play with them and they were all so welcoming. This experience was one that we will never forget. After training, everyone came back to the house and Ross had a presentation of what it’s like to be a coach and Rush’s expectations. All in all, this day was an amazing experience that I will never forget.
Day 2 entry is from Ryan Blarr:
(11.17.12) After a long day of travel and quick rest the following night, we woke up for our first hot breakfast! It was a delicious serving of hot eggs, sausage, fresh African-influenced beans, and delicious spread of yogurt and granola with a bran muffin on the side. After breakfast, we went to the Gateway shopping mall and shopped around for some African-esc gifts for family and friends; in addition we saw a chill GTR, Lamborghini, as well as a sweet M3. After concluding our shopping experiences, a few of us fully indulged in the Indian Ocean with others just testing the waters for swimming later in the weeks. With a long day of shopping and a quick dip in the African waters, another day of paradise came to in end with a relaxing dinner with our gracious hosts as well as newly made friends. It is only the start of our amazing adventure."With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." - Eleanor Roosevelt
The first entry comes from Hunter Rooney who is an ambassador from Colorado Rush:
(11.16.12) Our trip began at DIA on Thursday morning as we all met up accompanied by our families and a broadcaster from 9news. The broadcaster interviewed both Taylor and Connor about their thoughts on the trip as well as our goals and motives. We were all a little sad to say goodbye to our parents, however our excitement easily overshadowed it. the first leg of the trip, a plane ride, took us to Atlanta, Georgia were we had a quick layover. The 3 hour flight flew by as we spent it playing card games such as Apples to Apples and Uno. Once we arrived in Atlanta we made our way to our plane headed for Johannesburg. This was the highly anticipated 15 hour plane ride that none of us were looking forward to. Some of us spent it sleeping, others doing homework, and some filled it with movie after movie. The majority of us were extremely antsy by the end and ready to be at our destination. Once we arrived in Johannesburg we had a 4 hour layover that was spent with Hackey sack tournaments and KFC. Then finally we got on our flight to Durban where a short flight and bus ride brought us to the hospitable hands of Dennis and Eunice!
Below are the REACH Ambassadors who are in South Africa: