The Honor of Meeting The President

All of us at AoC are deeply honored to recently have had the opportunity to meet Rwandan President Kagame. Team AoC and friends, along with Coach Tony and children of the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club, waited patiently in the sunshine which turned into rainfall which eventually turned into the evening darkness leaving us very skeptical as to whether or not we would actually meet His Excellency.

Early Friday afternoon at Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club, Musanze Town RWANDA.  AoC 2011.Coach Tony’s wife, Olive, and their twins with sweet Assumpta and Clementine. Harriet and a group of tennis players and runners.

The morning of that day as Coach Tony raced me around the tennis court for a glorious hour of exercise, I noticed banana trees being placed along the main road which signals preparatory measures of a VIP passing through.

Waiting, waiting, waiting for President Kagame to arrive at Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club, Rwanda. AoC 2011.Innocent, Olivier, Alberto, and Valerie at the tennis courts…waiting. I hold our gift to President Kagame with Valerie, Innocent, and children standing by. The president’s motorcade approaches!

Back at the office, Harriet tweeted President Kagame with an invitation to stop by Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club as the children had a gift for him. He tweeted Harriet back with an OK, thank you!

President Kagame shaking hands with Habibo...top player for Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club.  Art of Conservation 2011. Rwanda.Welcoming the president. The children are elated and shake hands with their president.

Recently the children confessed to Coach Tony that they wished they were more recognized by the district. I think their desire was remarkably surpassed after meeting the president! The exhilaration shown on their faces is something I will never forget.

An honor to meet the president. Art of Conservation 2011.President Kagame with members of Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club, Coach Tony, and AoC members and friends.

Occasionally spontaneous ideas turn into reality, with the brilliance of Harriet’s Tweets, that benefits a whole lot of children by lifting their spirits and confidence. Ah, so wonderful! We are grateful to you, Mr. President.

President Kagame accepts our gift. Art of Conservation 2011Graciously accepting the t-shirt, President Kagame says it is just the right size.

Excited to meet His Excellency, we return to AoC House for pizza and dancing.  2011We walk home singing and dancing.

What a sensational evening! Thanks, Alberto, for taking the photographs! Thanks, Patricia, Bunny, John, and USTA/NJTL for your continuing support!

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8 Comments

  1. cheryl
    Posted March 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Wow. This is great. Congratulations to all of you for your great work!!!

  2. Posted March 11, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Thanks Cheryl. You help us every step of the way!

  3. Mary GJ
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    This presidential visit is extraordinary! How exciting. Your children can see how doing healthy things for themselves pays off – in ways no one would have imagined!
    Congratulations!

  4. Posted March 11, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment Mary. I think the kids are really turned on to do well on and off the court!

  5. Tracy
    Posted March 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I love this- What a special occasion …. Lucky President… getting to meet Julie and team. And, the Prez looks very handsome in his AoC t-shirt.

  6. Harriet
    Posted March 13, 2011 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    It was a wonderful day for everyone, most of all the kids

  7. Joël
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Wonderfull. Exciting experience. We are initiating children around Virunga National Park to such activities. They have art skills and our job is just to make it as a communication tools with other child.
    You guys have done a great job.

  8. Anchor
    Posted March 23, 2011 at 4:15 am | Permalink

    Thank you the great initiative. I hope you manage to change the lives of those children. Some NGOs exploit local communities just to win over recognition and funding, but I hope yours is a sincere one. We will judge you not but the President’s donation, but by what you use it for and the output. Thank you

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