F3B sat down to talk with Chanel Johnson, a senior at Plainfield High School and F3B scholar. Chanel matriculated at Niagara University on a basketball scholarship this fall.
F3B: Why did you decide to participate in last year’s summer basketball program?
CJ: I had always wanted to go to Africa, so when the opportunity presented itself, I went for it. I was curious to see how other people lived and to compare my life with theirs.
F3B: What did you expect before you travelled to Namibia, and what was your best experience in-country?
CJ: To be honest, I didn’t think that Namibia would be very modern; I was nervous and really didn’t know what to expect as far as living conditions. But when we got there, I was struck by how many more similarities than differences there were. The people there looked just like people in the US; also the country was more diverse than I expected. My best experience was traveling to the Himba village to see a traditional culture and way of living.
F3B: Describe some of the interactions that you had with the Namibian girls during the program.
CJ: It was nice working on the basketball drills with the girls in country, enhancing and building on the fundamentals such as dribbling and shooting. During our down time, we got to know each other and discussed many different topics, such as religion and family. At the beginning, I think the Namibian girls thought we were all rich and spoiled, but their perception of us changed and we became friends. The American girls learned a lot as well. We got along pretty well, and traded items such as clothes and bracelets.
F3B: How did the F3B program impact you and what advice would you give any student who is considering participating in the program?
CJ: I care even more about what is happening in the community and world around me. I am more open to living in different environments and I’m looking forward to attending Niagara University since it is pretty diverse. As far as advice to others, I would say to shoot for the stars – nothing is impossible if you want it and work for it. There’s nothing you can’t do if you try.
F3B: Thanks Chanel for speaking with us and good luck in your first year at college. We know you’ll go far!