This past Saturday in Musanze Town, Coach Tony’s tennis players put on a remarkable show of talent. The children’s camaraderie plus enthusiasm for the game of tennis was clearly apparent, too. By the time I got to the courts in the morning, kids were reapplying paint to the lines, sweeping and watering the clay courts, arranging rented chairs, and beginning their warm-ups. Olivier and I dashed to town to fill the truck with crates of water and bottles of beverages. The players’ parents were invited. Flyers were distributed inviting the community to come and watch.
Evartiste and Assumpta head off the court after talking with Coach Tony. Players are ready to begin their matches.
Habibu was last year’s boys champion and last weekend his fellow team mates had it out to beat him. Most days after school they were at the courts practicing in addition to Saturday and Sunday morning clinics. But guess what? Habibu pulled through becoming this year’s champion again! I love all of these kids finding it hard to see some loose their matches and witnessing their tears. Ah, such are life’s lessons.
Player’s parents and friends watched 12 exciting 1-set matches.
The day was beautiful. Rwanda is entering into dry season and a lingering thunderstorm staved off until the late afternoon.
Jean Bosco preparing to serve.
This event as well as the recent 3K Gorilla Fun Run and the upcoming performances at Igitaramo, are all children’s activities we organize leading up to Rwanda’s Annual Gorilla Naming ceremony and are registered activities at WED, the UN’s World Environment Day.
Champion Habibu with his parents.
Earlier in the week, Coach Tony and I put together prizes for all of the players. Tennis rackets, back packs, t-shirts, shorts, water bottles, chap stick, notepads, pencils, pens, children’s books, boots, jump ropes, and caps had been donated by Bunny Bruning and John Terpkosh from USPTA, USTA/NJTL, Peter Riger of the Houston Zoo, and our recent Simpson College volunteers. Our thanks goes out the them.
Girl’s champion Uwase with her parents and Coach Tony.
The tournament’s umpire, Josephine, with a gorilla after the matches.
You can see more photos on AoC’s facebook page.
Art of Conservation manages the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club, where the tournament was held and is providing the funding for the rehabilitation of the courts and the children’s weekend clinics, but at some point in the future Coach Tony will take it over.