Mozambique Recap

New Jersey based F3B Global Scholar Athlete organization took their program to the motherland for the 12th consecutive year. During the summer of 2010, they partnered with the US Embassy in Mozambique and ran their program at a public secondary school in Namaacha. The quaint, sleepy town of Namaacha, according to Rueben Hernandez, Country Director, Peace Corps Mozambique, was the ideal place to host the program because of the warmth of the people, the receptiveness of the community and the needs of the local youth. The town lies 80 kilometers west of Maputo (capital city) and borders Swaziland. It is well known for its colonial church and for its waterfall.

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Artist Profile: Chanel Johnson

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.

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My Experience With F3B

Greetings,

My name is Whitney Summer Boyd and I had the pleasure of joining the F3B team to Rwanda and Kenya during the summer of 2008.  Hired by founder of F3B, Diana Tyson, my job was to serve as the group’s journalist and to capture- in my own words- the journey of a small group of female high school basketball players from New Jersey, as they interacted, learned, and bonded with high school aged female basketball players in Kenya and Rwanda.  At the time of the trip, I was entering my senior year at Hampton University, and it was also my duty while traveling with F3B to serve as a mentor for the high school girls and to help them keep up with their own personal journals throughout their days in Africa.

The two-week adventure began with spending a week in Kigali, Rwanda, where we resided at a compound overlooking the beautiful hills known of Rwanda’s landscape, just five minutes away from the Kigali Airport.  While in Rwanda, our group was assigned with two Rwandese translators who helped us communicate with the almost 20 chosen high school basketball players from the rural cities of the country.  After a string of name games used to break the ice between the girls, we were all humbled to find out that many of the girls from Rwanda traveled more than three hours on foot to participate in the F3B basketball program.  It was clear that the girls in Rwanda were part of the looming amount of impoverished teens in Rwanda that were still being impacted by the affects of the 1994 genocide that left thousands dead, jobless, and homeless.  I knew little about basketball, so when the girls took a break from playing, I enjoyed listening to the Rwanda girls tell their tales of horror, strength, and overcoming odds (all in broken English) to the American girls.  I couldn’t help but feel strengthened by the young women’s stories and appreciated the scheduled adventures Diana set aside for us to have a chance to briefly see the country.  Not only did we get a chance to see a concentration camp used during the genocide as well as visit a local orphanage, but several of us took a trip to go gorilla trekking in their natural habitats.

Kenya’s adventure was quite different in a parallel way.  Where in Rwanda we had the luxury of comfortable housing while working with rural Rwanda girls with limited education, when we arrived to Kenya, we resided at the Moi Girls School in a bunk style setting and the chosen high school girls of Kenya were sharp, educated, and eager to learn about their American visitors.  Aside from watching the American and Kenyan girls bond through intense rounds of competitive basketball, but I also watched as the girls played a round of basketball for school children in the Kibera slums, which is the second largest urban slum in Africa.  I saw with each passing day the American girls grow more humbled with their opportunity for travel abroad.  With each passing day, I too felt so appreciative for the F3B program and how it changed my perception of African natives- who, I found, were more proud of their county and their land than I previously expected and also more aware of American politics and social structures than most Americans that I know!

Two years later, I still find myself making references to my two short weeks with Diana and the F3B team and the many lessons I learned while traveling with this group.  As a result of this experience, I better understand how to work and remain professional under intense conditions due to the long work days while abroad.  I also have a deeper cultural appreciation for the people of Kenya and Rwanda as I had a chance to watch how mentally strong these young girls are despite their limited options in life.  I fully support everything that Diana is doing to further expand the cultural understanding between American and girls of Africa and I wish the F3B program continued success.

Whitney Summer Boyd

Three Female Ballers, 2008

Whitney Summer: whitney@afropunk.com

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F3B Bounces into Spring with a Fundraiser event at the Heldrich

On March 25, 2010 art enthusiasts and F3B supporters gathered at the Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ for the opening night of the fundraising exhibit ” The Last Frontier: Contemporary Women Artists Use Their Artistic Voices to Mobilize Their Communities”. The women artists whose works were exhibited represent partner F3B countries and they are also committed to the spirit and mission of the organization.

There was a buzz of excitement as people milled around, admiring and discussing the art that bathed the Heldrich Hotel and Conference Center walls in vibrant tones and textures.

Diana Tyson, F3B co-founder and president, welcomed the crowd. She was followed by Christine Healey, Jean Holtz and Judith Brodsky (the curator for the event), representatives of the event sponsors Women in Leadership at Alcatel-Lucent, New Brunswick Development Corporation and the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions, respectively.

After the opening remarks, artists Duhirwe Rushemeza, Ritah Edopu, and Lilian Mary Nabulime presented their work, explaining the inspiration for the pieces that were displayed in the gallery. In addition to the African visual artists, participants were also able to dialogue with American photographers Ariston Jacks, Kali McMillan, Glenda Jones and Letitia Cox.

Works by Ayana Jackson, Mercy Moyo and Sarah Nakisanze were also on display.

Diverse painting and sculptural styles, spirited conversation and cocktails – a good time was had by all, and for a good cause. F3B thanks the sponsors and attendees for their support and looks forward to the next fundraising event.

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