May 30, 2008
SALY, Senegal - After getting in so late last night, I found myself falling asleep with the television and the lights on. I woke up to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean waves splashing against the sand. It was so amazing. At breakfast, I was not all that hungry, so I had a piece of a croissant and a little bit of tangy juice. Leaving the hotel, I witnessed many different Africans wearing their African attire that portray their culture. I was blown away to see many different people outside sitting under the trees to get away from the sun because it was so hot.
This morning, we went on a safari where we saw many animals such as rhinos, giraffes, impalas, warthogs, antelopes, buffalo, monkeys and turtles. Just being only five to 10 feet away from these animals made me feel like I was on Animal Planet. I felt like I was the missing character out of the Lion King. The only animals that scared my teammates and I were the black mambas and pythons. Our tour guide, Abraham, explained that the trees all around us were balboa trees. At the very end of the tour, we saw crocodiles lurking in some murky water.
When we arrived at the Tatteguine Children's Grammar School, the children were amazed by our team as much as we were by seeing them. They made a big circle around us adding to the heat of the day. We introduced ourselves to the kids and told them our names and what we enjoyed about Senegal so far.
Next, we split up the kids, and at first, I started teaching the young boys how to dribble, but everyone knows that I am a post player. Soon Coach Charmin took over the boys, and I took my dribbling skills to the girls. After dribbling, I began to show the girls how to shoot. The girls were all willing and put in a lot of effort to improve their shooting ability. Their English was better than I thought it would be, but sometimes I had to ask Rama to tell them a few words. At the end of our visit, I socialized with a group of girls that wanted to braid my hair.
The children were so appreciative of our visit. At the very end, the team and I were able to pick two children to come up and demonstrate what we had taught them through the clinic. As soon as we brought out the t-shirts, everyone wanted one. I gave my shirts to the girls that I befriended. We took so many pictures, and the girls just loved it. They even gave us their phone numbers so we can call them. This was so much fun. Even though it was 110 degrees, it was all worth it. I can't wait to see what our adventure will be like tomorrow. We miss everyone back in California!