Serve Beyond Cincinnati Students and Adult Volunteers in Kamengo, Uganda

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This was my first Courts for Kids trip and I couldn’t be happier with my experience. Our group arrived in Kamengo, Uganda on December 28th 2016. We were greeted with big smiles, a warm meal, and a traditional dance by some the locals that were a part of the Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club. The next few days were accompanied by sweat, hard work, compassion, and determination as the Courts for Kids volunteers worked with the locals to construct the basketball court.

As a team, we overcame several challenges. We needed water for the cement, so we extracted water from the guest house instead of having it delivered and driven up the mountain numerous times. In addition, we worked diligently to shovel what seemed like endless amounts of gravel and sand in order to fill the 15 blocks sectioned off that completed the court. We strove to finish the court as quickly as possible. We were able to have two cement mixers, and we had enough help to have the two mixers running smoothly at the same time. As a result, I am honored to say that we were able to complete construction within two and a half days.

During that time, the volunteers and the locals came together as one unit. We formed connections with the members of the Boys and Girls club. Their work ethic and positive attitudes are extremely commendable. The boys and girls immersed us into their culture. They performed traditional dances for us one evening after dinner.  Some of the volunteers were lucky enough to work and help them cook meals.  As the days went by, the volunteers and the locals started doing daily chores like laundry and washing dishes together. We attended a mass on Sunday and were given a tour of a clinic and a school near the Boys and Girls Club. All of the locals were so welcoming. The sense of unity was very inspiring. Leaving the community was difficult, but the memories we made will last a lifetime. The people of Kamengo reminded me to be patient, kind, and how to truly live in the moment. – Renee Marinez, Courts for Kids volunteer

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“These past two weeks in Africa have deeply impacted my outlook on life. I completely disconnected myself from my phone, choosing instead to live in the moment. This trip has made apparent to me what matters most – family, faith, and friendship.” – Brady Kraemer

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“By American standards, these people have nothing. The people of this community are incredibly resourceful. I watched the boys make “sunhats” out of empty concrete bags and sticks. The second thing I learned is the people are so humble and selfless. We were taking a tour of the village. We stopped to take water – rest. A boy, who was ten years old, came up to us. He knelt down in front of me and offered up a papaya. That moment perfectly embodies this community.” – Aleah Weaver

“What I have learned about the world on this trip is that the connections and similarities that define us all as human beings are much more prominent than the differences that separate us. Dedication, diligence, and willpower are characteristics that are universally respected.” – Alex Sheehan

“My high point from this trip is the conversations and relationships you build with the locals. You have so much in common with these kids, but, at the same time, you live in a completely different world. There was so much I didn’t know about how they live and the struggles they face. Their appreciation for the small things leaves me speechless. The relationships I’ve built here will stay with me for the rest of my life.” – Reily Gibbs

“I learned the importance of investing time with and in others.  Each member of the Kamengo community has enhanced my understanding of resourcefulness, pride, generosity, family, and love.  My interactions with members of the community confirmed that material things are truly immaterial and that your life is defined by its impact on others.” – Shannon Reid